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The Truth Behind Brittany Murphy’s Cause of Death

Brittany Murphy passed out on the bathroom floor of the house she shared with her mother Sharon and her husband Simon on December 20, 2009. A few hours later, at around 10 a.m., the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles said that she was dead.

The actress from Clueless was only 32 when she died suddenly, which shocked Hollywood and the rest of the world. Since then, there has been a lot of talk about her personal life, conspiracy theories about what caused her death, and a lot of amateur sleuthing on YouTube. What Happened, Brittany Murphy? is a new two-part documentary series on HBO Max that starts on October 14. Its goal is to set the record right.

In the HBO Max documentary, it is said that the talented 8 Mile and Uptown Girls actor rose to fame at a time when women in Hollywood were treated very badly. As was widely talked about after Hulu’s Britney Spears documentary Controlling Britney Spears went viral earlier this year, the late 1990s and early 2000s were a time of extreme misogynistic scrutiny in the media, heavy paparazzi surveillance, and the rise of gossip blogs like Perez Hilton.

In the series, Murphy’s coworkers talk about how she wanted to lose weight and change the color of her hair after Hollywood executives told her she was “not fuckable” enough to play lead parts in movies. But perhaps worst of all, the culture led to a feeling of nervousness that made Murphy open to the charms of Simon Monjack, who the new HBO Max documentary shows to be a manipulative con artist.

Murphy married Simon Monjack in 2007 after her friends tried to talk to her about his criminal past but failed. He moved in with her and her mother, and soon after, he started cutting Murphy off from her friends. He cut off her phone lines, made sure no one could talk to her without going through him, fired her manager, agent, and makeup artist, and took over those jobs himself.

In HBO Max’s documentary, an ex-girlfriend and mother of Monjack’s child—a child Murphy never knew about, according to the show—talks about how he was violent, controlling, and always lying. LA Weekly says that Murphy was fired from the last movie she would ever work on because Monjack showed up drunk to the set. A month later, on December 20, she passed out at home and died a few hours later.

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In the weeks that followed, Brittany’s mother Sharon, and her husband Simon kept living together. Simon made a very strange appearance on Larry King Live, where he said that an autopsy wasn’t needed in Brittany’s case. Even though Brittany’s death was already upsetting, their actions made people suspicious and led to a lot of conspiracy theories.

According to the coroner’s report, Murphy died of pneumonia. Iron deficiency anemia and drug overdose were also factors in his death. But over the years, fans and people who are interested in true crime have questioned how likely it is that a 32-year-old woman died of pneumonia.

Brittany Murphy's Cause of Death

They have said that mold growing in Brittany’s home or even poison given to her by her mother or husband could have killed her. Simon Monjack died of pneumonia and anemia on May 23, 2010, less than six months after Brittany. This added to the puzzle. He had turned 39.

Most of these conspiracy ideas are busted by the HBO Max documentary. After Murphy’s father sued the Los Angeles Coroner’s Office and the Los Angeles Police Department in 2012, a toxicology lab tested her hair. They found dangerously high levels of lead in her hair, but they figured out that the lead came from her hairspray or hair dye because no lead or mold spores were found in her body during the autopsy.

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In an interview for the series, the doctor says that Brittany probably would have lived if she had been taken to the hospital when she was sick with pneumonia and had trouble breathing a few days before she died.

Sharon, Murphy’s mother, has been living alone since her daughter died. The documentary shows how, after Simon died, she was left with very little. When she tried to sell the diamond jewelry he had made for her, she quickly found out that it was all fake. Monjack spent $3 million in the few years he was married to Murphy and had control of her money. He did this by making fake property deeds and jewelry to convince Sharon and Brittany that he was spending their money wisely.

Sharon Murphy is not in the HBO Max documentary. The last time she talked about her daughter’s death in public was in an open letter published by The Hollywood Reporter in 2013. She wrote the letter after Brittany’s father Angelo Bertolotti, who was not involved with Brittany when she was growing up, said that she was poisoned and had her hair tested for heavy metals.

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“Angelo has shown that he only wants to make money off of Brittany’s life, career, and good name, even if it means ruining her memory,” she wrote. “She was my baby, and we were there for Brittany all the way through her life. Now I have to speak up again for her…I want Brittany to be known for the sweet person she was, for the huge talent she showed the world (and left behind in her movies and TV shows), and for the friendships and loving relationships that were really a part of her life.

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