Details have begun to emerge about Sunday's shocking [article id="1628612"]death of actress Brittany Murphy[/article], 32, which the Los Angeles County coroner's office said appears to have been from natural causes, but an autopsy is expected to be performed within the next couple of days — TMZ reported late Monday morning (December 21) that the autopsy is already under way.
Late Sunday evening, L.A. County Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter held a press conference outside the star's home. "It appears to be natural at this time," he told "Access Hollywood," adding that foul play is not suspected. "We do understand she had a bit of medical history."
Winter confirmed reports that Murphy had been found collapsed in her bathroom on Sunday morning. According to TMZ, Murphy's mother told paramedics that her daughter had a history of diabetes.
Murphy's family is being "very cooperative" with the investigation, Winter said. "The family is very distraught."
The family issued late Sunday evening, saying, "The sudden loss of our beloved Brittany is a terrible tragedy. She was our daughter, our wife, our love and a shining star. We ask you to respect our privacy at this time."
TMZ reported that sources said the actress was very ill in the hours before she went into cardiac arrest and that she had been taking prescription medications for flu-like symptoms for several days. Murphy reportedly began vomiting early Sunday morning, and collapsed in the shower. TMZ's sources also said that "a lot" of prescription drugs were found in her house (some written for her mother and husband), and it is possible that the medication coupled with her diabetes may have triggered cardiac arrest. However, these reports had not been confirmed at press time.
[This story was originally published at 9:14 am E.T. on 12.21.2009]