Houston probe focuses on prescriptions, behavior

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Courtesy of CNN:

For complete coverage of Whitney Houston’s death, tune in to CNN and HLN. On Saturday, watch Houston’s funeral live starting at 11 a.m. ET on CNN TV, CNN.com/live, and the CNN mobile apps.

Los Angeles (CNN)Flags in New Jersey were flying at half-staff Friday to honor native Whitney Houston, but nearly a week after her death, investigators still sought answers about how the singer died.

Investigators were contacting doctors and pharmacies across the country for information on her prescription drug use, trying to determine whether it played a role in her death last week at the age of 48.

As a private, family-only viewing of Houston’s body was being held Friday, a source close to the family said Whitney’s mother, Cissy, was “doing well.”

Houston’s close friend, reality TV star and singer Ray J, released his first statement about her death, saying Friday he feels an “emptiness” at her loss.

“What my heart feels cannot be expressed in words,” said Ray J, who was Houston’s frequent companion in the days before she died. “The world lost an icon, but I lost my close friend. Nippy, I miss you so much! You were so happy and full of love. Your smile will live in my heart forever.”

Houston’s death certificate is only fueling speculation about her death. It lists the cause as “deferred,” meaning a determination is delayed pending more information.

The investigation is also looking into the superstar’s behavior in her last days. Investigators are aware that Houston partied at her hotel and other venues “even the night before she died,” a source close to the death investigation told CNN.

Personnel at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California, have said Houston was partying in the bar the night before her death, the source said. A second source said Houston appeared intoxicated as she ordered drinks in the hotel earlier in the week and that she was seen drinking the morning of the day she died.

Key moments in Whitney Houston’s life

Whitney Houston was found dead Saturday by her bodyguard on the fourth floor of the Beverly Hills hotel where only hours later she was to attend a pre-Grammy bash hosted by her longtime mentor, Clive Davis. She was 48. Here, Houston performs at a pre-Grammy event a year ago in Beverly Hills. Following is a a look at the singer's life through the years.Whitney Houston was found dead Saturday by her bodyguard on the fourth floor of the Beverly Hills hotel where only hours later she was to attend a pre-Grammy bash hosted by her longtime mentor, Clive Davis. She was 48. Here, Houston performs at a pre-Grammy event a year ago in Beverly Hills. Following is a a look at the singer’s life through the years.
"I Wanna Dance With Somebody" was a hit single from Houston's second album, titled "Whitney."“I Wanna Dance With Somebody” was a hit single from Houston’s second album, titled “Whitney.”
 Whitney Houston poses with her American Music Award in 1986 backstage at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Whitney Houston poses with her American Music Award in 1986 backstage at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
 Houston poses with her mother, Cissy Houston, in March 1987. Houston poses with her mother, Cissy Houston, in March 1987.
Whitney Houston strikes a glamorous pose for a photo in 1987.Whitney Houston strikes a glamorous pose for a photo in 1987.
Houston performs in May 1988 at Wembley Arena in London.Houston performs in May 1988 at Wembley Arena in London.
Whitney Houston flashes her radiant smile in January 1991.Whitney Houston flashes her radiant smile in January 1991.
Houston sings "The Star-Spangled Banner" before Super Bowl XXV in Tampa, Florida, in January 1991, during the Persian Gulf War. Houston sings “The Star-Spangled Banner” before Super Bowl XXV in Tampa, Florida, in January 1991, during the Persian Gulf War.
Houston gestures as she sings the national anthem before the start of Super Bowl XXV in 1991.Houston gestures as she sings the national anthem before the start of Super Bowl XXV in 1991.
Whitney Houston performs in July 1991.Whitney Houston performs in July 1991.
Houston performs in October 1993 in the Netherlands.Houston performs in October 1993 in the Netherlands.
Houston waves to the crowd at the 36th Annual Grammy Awards in New York in March 1994, after she was honored for Record of the Year, "I Will Always Love You," and Album of the Year, the soundtrack from the film "The Bodyguard." Houston waves to the crowd at the 36th Annual Grammy Awards in New York in March 1994, after she was honored for Record of the Year, “I Will Always Love You,” and Album of the Year, the soundtrack from the film “The Bodyguard.”
Houston appears with her husband at the time, Bobby Brown, at the Soul Train Music Awards in March 1995. Houston received the Sammy Davis Jr. Award for entertainer of the year.Houston appears with her husband at the time, Bobby Brown, at the Soul Train Music Awards in March 1995. Houston received the Sammy Davis Jr. Award for entertainer of the year.
Houston stars in the 1996 movie "The Preacher's Wife."Houston stars in the 1996 movie “The Preacher’s Wife.”
Whitney Houston appears in New York, 1997. Whitney Houston appears in New York, 1997.
Houston performs during an AmFar Benefit Concert in New York City in December 1998.Houston performs during an AmFar Benefit Concert in New York City in December 1998.
Houston received the Best R&B performer award during the 1999 MTV Europe Music Awards in Dublin, Ireland.Houston received the Best R&B performer award during the 1999 MTV Europe Music Awards in Dublin, Ireland.
Houston appears at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in February 2000.Houston appears at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in February 2000.
Houston performs at the MTV Music Video Awards in 2000 at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Houston performs at the MTV Music Video Awards in 2000 at Radio City Music Hall in New York.
Whitney Houston performs in 2001.Whitney Houston performs in 2001.
Houston poses with her cousin Dionne Warwick and producer Clive Davis during the15th annual Ella Awards in Beverly Hills, California, in September 2006. Houston poses with her cousin Dionne Warwick and producer Clive Davis during the15th annual Ella Awards in Beverly Hills, California, in September 2006.
Houston arrives at the Beverly Hilton Hotel for a charity function in October 2006. Houston arrives at the Beverly Hilton Hotel for a charity function in October 2006.
Houston performs during the German TV show "Let's Make a Bet" in 2009.Houston performs during the German TV show “Let’s Make a Bet” in 2009.
Houston performs at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles in 2009, where she won the International Favorite Artist award. Houston performs at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles in 2009, where she won the International Favorite Artist award.
Houston performs at 02 Arena in London in April 2010. Houston performs at 02 Arena in London in April 2010.
Houston performs during a concert at the O2 World in May 2010 in Berlin. Houston performs during a concert at the O2 World in May 2010 in Berlin.
Houston performs at Mediolanum Forum in Milan, Italy, in May 2010.Houston performs at Mediolanum Forum in Milan, Italy, in May 2010.
Houston attends the Rainforest Foundation Benefit Concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1994.Houston attends the Rainforest Foundation Benefit Concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1994.
Houston and her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, arrive at a gala event honoring David Geffen at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in February 2011.Houston and her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, arrive at a gala event honoring David Geffen at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in February 2011.
Houston performs at the Beverly Hilton in February 2011.Houston performs at the Beverly Hilton in February 2011.
Whitney Houston through the years
Whitney Houston through the years
Whitney Houston through the years
Whitney Houston through the years
Whitney Houston through the years
Whitney Houston through the years
Whitney Houston through the years
Whitney Houston through the years
Whitney Houston through the years
Whitney Houston through the years
Whitney Houston through the years
Whitney Houston through the years
Whitney Houston through the years
Whitney Houston through the years
Whitney Houston through the years
Whitney Houston through the years
Whitney Houston through the years
Whitney Houston through the years
Whitney Houston through the years
Whitney Houston through the years
Whitney Houston through the years
Whitney Houston through the years
Whitney Houston through the years
Whitney Houston through the years
Whitney Houston through the years
Whitney Houston through the years
Whitney Houston through the years
Whitney Houston through the years
Whitney Houston through the years
Whitney Houston through the years
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Investigators are looking at video from Houston’s television appearances and at other reports as part of the investigation into her physical state and behavior leading up to her death on Saturday, on the eve of the Grammy Awards, the first source said.

Hotel surveillance video, if it exists, could reveal Houston’s activities in the common areas of the hotel, the source said.

The anti-anxiety medication Xanax was among prescription drugs found in the singer’s room, the source said. Houston’s family members and staff confirmed she used the medication, the source said, but investigators don’t know whether she took it the day she died. Xanax is a drug classified as a benzodiazepine, or sedative, but no other benzodiazepines, including Valium, were found in the room, according to the source.

Houston also had a prescription for the antibiotic amoxicillin, the source said, but “if taken as prescribed, it’s not going to kill you.”

Medicine and pill bottles found in Houston’s hotel room are currently undergoing basic testing, but nothing so far indicates anything criminal occurred, the source said.

Officials are trying to speed up toxicology testing, the source told CNN.

The source called speculation any preliminary reporting about family members being told that a deadly mixture of alcohol and drugs led to Houston’s death. Investigators do not know what mixture, if any Houston, had in her body.

There have been reports that Houston was found dead in the bathtub of her suite, but the source said that when paramedics arrived, she was in the room, not in the bathroom.

Her body was initially discovered by her assistant, a family source said earlier this week.

The Mickey Fine Pharmacy and Grill in Beverly Hills is one of the pharmacies subpoenaed as part of the investigation, the source said. The pharmacy did nothing criminal and is not the focus of the investigation, the source said.

Unpublished photos of an 18-year-old Whitney Houston sat in photographer Jack Mitchell's files for 30 years. When he heard about her death, he decided to release them.<br/><br/><br/><br/>View more images and read the full story behind them on CNN Photos.Unpublished photos of an 18-year-old Whitney Houston sat in photographer Jack Mitchell’s files for 30 years. When he heard about her death, he decided to release them.

View more images and read the full story behind them on CNN Photos.

The portraits were taken in February 1982. The shoot was arranged by the manager of Whitney's mother, gospel singer Cissy Houston.The portraits were taken in February 1982. The shoot was arranged by the manager of Whitney’s mother, gospel singer Cissy Houston.
Houston was still in high school when the photos were taken. She was also singing in a church choir and taking the stage occasionally with her mother.Houston was still in high school when the photos were taken. She was also singing in a church choir and taking the stage occasionally with her mother.
Mitchell describes the young Houston as "an innocent, sweet, pleasant schoolgirl with very good manners."Mitchell describes the young Houston as “an innocent, sweet, pleasant schoolgirl with very good manners.”
Houston's career soared in the 1980s and '90s with one record-setting achievement after another. News of her death broke on February 11, the night before the Grammy Awards.Houston’s career soared in the 1980s and ’90s with one record-setting achievement after another. News of her death broke on February 11, the night before the Grammy Awards.
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A look at Houston’s last days

One of the prescriptions found in Houston’s suite was from Mickey Fine, according to Ed Winter, assistant chief coroner at the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office. But “the prescription that came from Mickey Fine is not something that would kill her,” Winter has said.

Winter has said that while prescription medication was found in Houston’s room, the amount was less than that usually present in overdose deaths.

“I know there are reports that she maybe was drowned or did she overdose, but we won’t make a final determination until all the tests are in,” Winter said shortly after her death was reported. He ruled out foul play and said there were no injuries to Houston’s body.

Houston’s battles with drug addiction had cast a shadow in recent years over her impressive singing voice and her talent.

However, a close family friend told CNN on Tuesday that Houston had not used “hard drugs” for several years, although she was taking medication for a throat infection and Xanax or a similar drug for anxiety and to help her sleep. The friend said Houston was also known to have a drink if she went out.

Fans have been leaving balloons, candles and photographs of the singer in front of Newark’s New Hope Baptist Church, where Houston’s funeral is set to take place Saturday.

Never-seen photos of a young Houston

Actor Kevin Costner, who starred with Houston in the 1992 hit movie “The Bodyguard,” will speak at the private, invitation-only funeral, according to a source with knowledge of the funeral plans.

The ceremony will feature performances by Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys and Houston’s godmother, Aretha Franklin, a Houston representative said. Houston’s former husband Bobby Brown and singer Roberta Flack are also expected to attend.

The family is not commenting on Houston’s burial location, but her death certificate filed Wednesday in Los Angeles lists it as Fairview Cemetery in Westfield, New Jersey.

CNN’s Susan Candiotti, Sunny Hostin, Kareen Wynter, Ross Levitt, Gary Tuchman, Stan Wilson, Alan Duke, Denise Quan and Deb Feyerick contributed to this report.

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