At 10:20 p.m. PST Sunday evening, I spoke with longtime acquaintance and friend of Brittany Murphy, activist and socialiteÂ Cheryl Shuman, regarding the 32 year-old actress' sudden death in L.A. earlier in the day.
Beverly Hills NORML Executive Director, Cheryl Shuman says that Brittany was "delicate" and that she did have both asthma and type two diabetes. "I want to get the word out there, she had health issues...I wish people wouldn't jump to conclusions," she said.
Early speculation regarding the young actress' shocking death included rumors of eating disorders and both prescription and street drugs, as well as drawing comparisons to both Heath Ledger and Michael Jackson. "I just wish people would be more humane on the internet, I wish people would be more compassionate," Shuman pled.
Cheryl Shuman also released this public statement via her organization's site, "I've known Brittany Murphy since I worked with her on Clueless and continued to be acquainted with her over the past several years... I'm also angry at the insensitive comments left by some anonymous people accusing her of drug use.Â Brittany has died of natural causes...."
"Â I would ask that people be respectful of the family, especially her fantastic mother, Sharon," she also noted in her statement. Sharon Murphy has now also confirmed that Brittany had type 2 diabetes.
Reports from Examiner.com and TMZ reveal that prescription drugs were found in Murphyâ€™s home but no illegal drugs were found at the residence. She is said to have been suffering from flu-like symptoms and was mixing flu medication along with her other prescriptions. It was previously not released that her mother had apparently found her in the shower with "a significant amount of vomit in the immediate area."
MSNBC.com reported late Sunday, "Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter says the cause of Murphy's death 'appears to be natural." Winter also notedÂ that Brittany's family is cooperating with the coroner's investigation and that an autopsy is planned for Monday or Tuesday.
Shuman tearfully recalled that her last conversation with Brittany had been the star patiently listening as she spoke about her own recent sucessful battle with cancer. "Every single instance where I would see her she always so kind and so pleasant to everyone," she remembered. "I feel bad that I'm here and she's gone. Its unreal."
She said that Brittany MurphyÂ was, "a very sweet, loving girl."
Updated 12/23/09: NY Daily News reports that the cause of death "is deferred pending toxicology and tissue tests that could take four to six weeks." Â A length list of prescription drugs have been reported as documented at the scene, according to a source which leaked the information to TMZ.
Brittany's husband, British Director and screenwriter, Simon Monjack, has also denied reports that his young wife may have overdosed or suffered from an eating disorder, Â "My wife did not take anything on the morning of her death that would have caused her to be sick or ill, let alone die. It's beyond even the sickest speculation."
The actress is to be laid to rest on Christmas Eve in Los Angeles' famous Forest Lawn Cemetery, in a private service.
Shuman and Murphy, used with permission from Cheryl Shuman.