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Police: Houston was unconscious, underwater

Whitney Houston in 2000

Singer Whitney Houston was found unconscious and submerged in water in her hotel room bathtub, Beverly Hills police confirmed on Monday.

"Ms. Houston was pulled from the tub by members of her staff and hotel security was promptly notified," the department said in a news release.

Houston remained unconscious and unresponsive when fire department emergency responders entered the room, the statement said. When they were unable to revive Houston, 48, she was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m. Saturday.

Earlier Monday, Los Angeles assistant chief coroner Ed Winter said his office has not discussed with Houston's family whether prescription medications and drowning played a role in in her death.

Winter was repeatedly asked about Internet reports that those issues had been brought up in discussions with Houston's family. While allowing that Beverly Hills police may have had such discussions, Winter said he is the one who's been in contact with Houston's family, and the topics were not broached.

He said Houston had been in the tub for less than an hour when it was discovered she was unconscious.

Houston was staying at the Beverly Hills Hilton before a pre-Grammys party.

Winter said the death investigation was ongoing and that a cause of death would not be announced before toxicology tests were performed. When asked, he said examiners would be testing "blood and urine, just the routine toxicology tests that we do."

While a security hold has been placed on the high-profile case, Winter told reporters that hold did not prevent Houston's body from being released to her family for burial. No official funeral or memorial arrangements have been announced, but WNBC in New York is reporting that her body will be flown to New Jersey as early as Monday evening for a funeral in her native New Jersey.

The coroner's office will not speak to the media for "another couple days," Winter said.

On Sunday, Winter would not comment on reporters' questions about whether the water was still running in the bathtub or confirm reports that prescription drug bottles were found in the room.

The autopsy has been completed, but results are held pending toxicology reports, which could take 6-8 weeks. "At this time, there's no signs of foul play," Winter said. There were also no visible signs of trauma, he said.

Also on Sunday, Houston's daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, was hospitalized and then released, reportedly for treatment of anxiety relating to her mother's death. Her father, singer Bobby Brown, canceled a concert in Nashville to fly to L.A. to be with his daughter.

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