Brittany Murphy: Her Tragic Death In 2009

Brittany Murphy's tragic death in 2009.
August 22, 2020 - 15:00 / Lucas Anderson

Brittany Murphy's death at the age of 32 left her family and the entertainment world heartbroken. The tragic circumstances surrounding her 2009 passing only worsened when her widowed husband Simon Monjack died of similar causes around five months later. This is what's known about the tragic death of Brittany Murphy.

Brittany Murphy is remembered as a talented star who was lost far too soon.

The actress and singer rose to fame in the early 1990s, landing her first main role on Fox's Drexell's Class in 1991. Murphy, still in her teens, then began to appear frequently in TV series and delivered one of her best-known performances as "Tai Frasier" in 1995's Clueless.

Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy and Alicia Silverstone in Clueless (1995).

She'd go on to accrue many TV and film credits over the years, with some of her most recognized work coming in 8 Mile, Sin City, Girl, Interrupted, and as the voice of "Luanne" on King of the Hill.

Murphy had continued with regular acting roles up until her sudden passing at the age of 32. She'd been living with her husband Simon Monjack and her mother Sharon at their Los Angeles home, where she fell ill in December 2009.

Brittany Murphy's tragic death in 2009

Murphy collapsed in the bathroom of the home on the morning of Dec. 20. Firefighters attempted to resuscitate her, and she was rushed to hospital, but Murphy was pronounced dead at 10:04 a.m., two hours after she'd collapsed.

Early rumours tied drug abuse and an eating disorder to Murphy's death. But in February, the L.A. County coroner ruled the death an accident, caused by pneumonia, anemia, and multiple drug intoxication (with prescription and over-the-counter medication).

Speaking to People, assistant coroner Ed Winter said the death was "preventable" if Murphy had only visitd a doctor. Monjack later said they only thought Murphy had the flu and that she did not abuse drugs. He added that his wife "was being properly taken care of" at home.

Simon Monjack's death in 2010

Murphy's tragic death got stranger when five months after her passing, Monjack also died in the home. Murphy's mother found him dead on May 23, 2010. Pneumonia and anemia were again determined as the cause of death.

Brittany Murphy and Simon Monjack.

In the aftermath of the deaths—of similar and specific causes at relatively young ages—there has been speculation that toxic mold contributed to the tragedy. The coroner refuted the claim, but Murphy's mother in 2011 attributed the deaths to mold in the home.

However, Murphy's father, Angelo Bertolotti, believed the couple were deliberately poisoned with heavy metals and accused Brittany's mother of the crime. His suit was dismissed in 2012, though, because he failed to attend court hearings.

As it stands, the mold and intentional poisoning suggestions remain theories. Murphy's and Monjack's initial death reports stand today, despite their mysterious similarities. Coroners have said that it's unlikely the case will ever be reopened, barring extreme evidence such as a confession.

Brittany Murphy (1977-2009).