"Was there foul play?" The unanswered questions that still surround Brittany Murphy's death.

Over 10 years later, Brittany Murphy’s death still puzzles the world.

On December 20, 2009, Murphy collapsed in the bathroom of her Hollywood home, passing out in the arms of her mother Sharon.

Her big smile, wide eyes and distinctly recognisable voice from years on film were lost. Her life ended at just 32.

Watch the trailer for new documentary, Brittany Murphy: An ID Mystery, below. Post continues after video.

Video by Investigation Discovery

In the weeks after her death, the coroner concluded Murphy died of a lethal concoction of things: pneumonia combined with anaemia and “multiple drug intoxication” from prescription medication.

But now, in a new Investigation Discovery documentary, a forensic pathologist has shared that his questions about the circumstances surrounding her death “were never truly answered”.

“What stood out to me was that here’s a young woman of 32 years old. How could she have developed such an advanced state pneumonia and such an incredible state of iron deficiency? Where in the world was her mother, her husband? Why didn’t she receive proper medical care,” forensic pathologist Dr Cyril Wecht, who was interviewed in Brittany Murphy: An ID Mystery, told Fox News.


“I was just puzzled by all of it. She had the financial means to see a doctor. And then she had prescriptions to strong opiates. It was very perplexing.”

In an interview with The Latest, the forensic pathologist reiterated his belief that Murphy's severe iron deficiency anaemia and long-standing pneumonia should have been picked up on earlier.

He refused to rule out 'foul play', but said that did not mean he believed the theory Murphy was murdered.

“Was there foul play, using the word ‘foul’ in a much broader sense of lack of care, lack of appropriate, simple healthcare measures?” he said.

“Yes, that was foul, but not the kind of foul play that we think of and talk about when we say homicide.”

Brittany Murphy with husband Simon Monjack. Image: Getty.

He said her husband and mother, whom she lived with, should have noticed her health issues, but he was "not suggesting for one moment that they did anything deliberately".

“But there comes a point that insensitivity, carelessness, there’s no way in the world that they would not have recognised that this young woman was not doing well.”

Murphy's half brother, Tony Bertolotti, has long believed that his sister was murdered.

"If you look at it from a distance, it's like here's this young lady, a fairly healthy girl, she's home with her supposed husband and mother, and she died. How absurd is it? It's only in Hollywood that it's considered another day at the zoo," he told the Daily Mail.

He said no one took her to a hospital, even though one was just four miles away.

"I spent years looking at this, suppressing my own anger. I think Brittany was taken out. Who killed Brittany? She didn't die of natural causes."


His belief that something suspicious was going on at Murphy's home is reinforced by the fact Murphy's husband died around five months later under similar circumstances, where Murphy's mother Sharon was also present at the time.

The deaths of Murphy and Monjack were shrouded in uncomfortable rumour about the state of their relationship. For one, despite the fact they were married for three years, Murphy deliberately left him out of her will.

Murphy's father Angelo, who died in January aged 92, passed away believing that her husband Monjack's negative influence on her life led to her premature death.

brittany murphy
Image: Getty.

There's no evidence of murder, but Bertolotti believes his deceased brother-in-law's alleged shady business deals and debt had something to do with it.

"I don't know what business decisions they were making at that time, but [the deaths] sound business-related to me. I've heard all sorts of crap, so what is true?" he said.

"I don't believe the drugs line that much, I don't buy it. I'm sure there was experimentation. But Brittany was conservative with that stuff, she was a bright girl.

"Then there's the fan club that something nasty happened to Brittany and I believe it with all my heart. You have to go back to the money. Jimmy Hendrix died, but the money kept flowing for many, many years afterwards. Sometimes an actress is worth more dead than alive.

"You've got to look at who's collecting the money now? I don't know. Every time the movie comes on, someone is getting paid. Whoever's got the money knows the truth."

Bertolotti said he couldn't afford to investigate Murphy's death, but he continued to theorise about what could've happened to his sister.

"You've got to look around Brittany and make your mind up. Who was her controller? Who was the one who ran the show? I have no proof of anything. If I did, I would have blown it off 10 years."


There have been multiple investigations into Murphy's death.

For a time, the Los Angeles County coroner investigated whether household mould played a part in the eerily similar deaths of the couple.

However, in their investigations, the coroner found no traces of mould in the toxicology reports.

In 2013, after ordering an independent analysis of her toxicology report, Murphy's dad Angelo Bertolotti found high levels of toxic metals, including Barium – which is used in some rat poisons – in her hair.

However, Murphy's mother refuted Bertolotti's claims her daughter may have been murdered, writing for the Hollywood Reporter in 2013 "his claims are based on the most flimsy of evidence and are more of an insult than an insight into what really happened".

"In light of the recent publicity about a lab test Angelo had done, I have asked some knowledgeable people, and they tell me that an analysis from a sample of hair is not considered dependable unless it is backed up by tests of tissue and blood and other analysis - which he did not do," she wrote.

Feature Image: Getty.

This post was originally published on December 24, 2019, and updated on June 25, 2020.