It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since actress Brittany Murphy passed away at just 32 years old on December 20, 2009. However, there are still lots of questions about her death to this day. The Hollywood A-lister died suddenly after she collapsed in her Hollywood hills home, which she shared with her mother, Sharon Murphy, and her husband, Simon Monjack. The Clueless star was on her balcony when Sharon saw her daughter upstairs. On an episode of Larry King Live, Simon claimed Brittany said, “’Mom, I’m dying. I love you.’”
Following her death, Simon spoke out about how he was feeling. “My world was destroyed yesterday,” he told Access Hollywood at the time. “She had been tired at the end of the year, she made a couple movies.” When asked if there were any bad influences in his life, he replied, “I don’t know why anyone would think that. She found love. We found love. Brittany didn’t get to where Brittany was with anyone controlling her … Brittany was Brittany.”
In January 2010, Sharon and Simon spoke with Larry King about their tragic loss and he insisted that “Hollywood broke Brittany Murphy’s heart.” He also made it clear that Brittany was not using any illegal drugs and wasn’t anorexic before she passed.
One month later, the Los Angeles County coroner revealed her cause of death was pneumonia, anemia and “multiple drug intoxication” from prescription and over-the-counter medications, People magazine reported at the time. Her death was officially ruled an accident. Los Angeles Country Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said the blonde beauty’s death was “accidental but preventable.” He added, “She had been sick for at least two weeks. Had they taken her to a doctor or hospital, it would have been treatable.”
Five months after she passed, Simon died at 40 years old in the same West Hollywood home where Brittany was found and of the same causes. Simon’s publicist, Roger Neal, said he had a heart condition and was going to get bypass surgery.
Naturally, people were suspicious. But Sharon wanted people to “stop the reckless innuendos that my daughter and son-in-law misused any kind of prescription medications,” she said in a statement. In August 2010, there were reports the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health was looking into toxic mold in their home. Sharon said she had “never been personally asked by the Coroner or anyone from the Health Department to come and inspect my home for mold.”
In January 2012, Brittany’s father, Angelo Bertolotti, sued the L.A. Department of Coroner for its findings and wanted to have samples of his daughter’s remains tested for heavy metals or other contaminations. Months later, a judge dismissed the suit, but Angelo worked with an independent lab, where they tested pieces of Brittany’s hair. In 2013, the results came back, and Angelo claimed there were traces of “heavy metals.” CNN obtained the report, which stated, “If we were to eliminate the possibility of a simultaneous accidental heavy metals exposure to the sample donor then the only logical explanation would be an exposure to these metals (toxins) administered by a third party perpetrator with likely criminal intent.”
Angelo felt like his daughter “was poisoned,” he told HLN in November 2013. “There’s no question about that. She was murdered.” Dr. Bruce Goldberger, the director of forensic medicine at the University of Florida and president of the American Board of Forensic Toxicology, said someone couldn’t determine if someone was poisoned just by testing a single strand of hair. The L.A. County Coroner’s office had no plans to reopen the case.
Sharon did not appreciate her ex’s theories, though. “I have no choice now but to come forward in the face of inexcusable efforts to smear my daughter’s memory by a man who may be her biological father but was never a real father to her in her lifetime,” she wrote in a letter published by The Hollywood Reporter. “Angelo Bertolotti has relocated to California in his old age to claim he is here for Brittany, as he never was in life. He has made outrageous statements over the past few years, culminating in his latest madness: that my darling daughter was murdered.”
“We will never know for sure,” she concluded. “However, we do know the Los Angeles Coroner did extensive tests and found that she died of natural causes. And now she is a real living angel in heaven.” Unfortunately, Angelo died in January, according to his son, Jeff Bertolotti, who wrote a touching message on Facebook.
Now, Pia Jo Reynolds told Radar Online — in an interview published on December 20 — that her sister “was not addicted to prescription drugs.” She added, “It sounds way out of character for Brittany. She had been scared of death since she was a child. She had a fear of having heart issues when she was younger. We talked about it. It was a general fear of death. She was super careful about how she took care of herself.”
Despite being estranged for six years, the sisters reconnected when Pia was 16 years old. “For the last 10 years, I’ve missed her terribly, and I look at what is happening in me and our family and that there is a destiny in her,” the 40-year-old said. “She had this supernatural influence to love well. It empowered her. Brittany could speak to a crowd, and they all felt they know and loved her.”
RIP Brittany. You are certainly missed.
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