Mysterious Details About Brittany Murphy’s Death Ahead Of Upcoming HBO Max Documentary About Her Life

Was there foul play after all?

brittany murphy simon monjack Featureflash PhotoAgency/ s_bukley / Shutterstock

From the cult classic "Clueless" to "8 Mile," "Uptown Girls," and "King of the Hill," Brittany Murphy was a huge name in Hollywood in the 2000s.  

Yet the young actress' life and career are often overshadowed by her untimely death in 2009, which stirred up a media frenzy and widespread speculation. The conspiracy mill continued to be fueled upon the death of Murphy's husband, who died six months after her under the same mysterious circumstances. 


Now, nearly 12 years later, HBO Max's upcoming documentary, "What Happened to Brittany Murphy," is set to explore the starlett's life in great detail.

A childhood friend of Murphy's, Kelley Faulkner, told fans she's already filmed her interview for the documentary and revealed it would start streaming on October 15th. 

How did Brittany Murphy die?

On December 20th, 2009, Brittany Murphy reportedly collapsed in her West Hollywood home. She was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and was later pronounced dead at 10:04 a.m. Coroners reported her cause of death appeared "to be natural" at the time. 


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It wasn't until February 4th, 2010 that an updated coroner's report was released. The document listed anemia and prescription drugs as having played a role in her death.

However, it was determined the official cause of death was "community acquired by pneumonia." Or, pneumonia acquired outside of the hospital. 


Brittany Murphy's family was sick before she was. 

A family friend named Alex Ben Block revealed that Murphy, her mother, Sharon Murphy, and husband, Simon Monjack, all traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico together in November 2009.

Murphy was set to film "The Caller," but ended up being fired. 

While there, Murphy's mother and Monjack both caught Staphylococcus. Murphy eventually caught it herself and by mid-December, was struggling with laryngitis.

She was also dealing with her second period that month, which lead to anemia. The actress reportedly assumed she could "overcome it" without seeking medical attention. Tragically, by the time she called for an appointment six weeks later, it was too late. 


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Brittany Murphy's last words to her mother were, "I'm dying. I'm going to die. Mommy, I love you." She was only 32. 

Simon Monjack died under similar conditions just five months later. 

In a strange twist, Murphy's husband died on May 23rd, 2010, at the age of 39 — in the same place as his late wife. He also died from acute pneumonia and anemia. 

The details that emerged from the couples' death was publically deemed "too odd" to be written off as a mere coincidence. Thus, conspiracies surrounding the couple started to emerge.


Brittany Murphy's father believed she was poisoned. 

In 2013, Angelo Bertolotti told "Good Morning America," "I have a feeling that there was definitely a murder situation here." He also added, "Yeah, it's poison. Yes, yes, I know that."  

Two years prior to Bertolotti's interview, it was revealed that Brittany Murphy's use of prescription drugs and medication to cope with injuries and seizures increased in the time leading up to her death.

On top of catching Staphylococcus aureus, Murphy was also taking the antibiotic Biaxin, migraine pills, cough medicine, over-the-counter nasal spray, Prozac, Vicoprofen, and a beta blocker her doctor prescribed her. She was also weakened by her anemia. 

Bertolotti challenged the L.A. coroner's ruling and ordered a new toxicology report, which showed samples of his late daughter's hair tested positive for 10 heavy metals. 


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The lab offered one possible explanation "would be an exposure to these metals (toxins) administered by a third-party perpetrator with likely criminal intent." 

A family friend, Julia Davis, also believed Murphy and her husband were poisoned. Yet the coroner's office issued a statement specifying, "We have not seen the results and nothing has been presented to us. We stand by what we ruled on the case."


Sharon Murphy herself refused to accept her ex-husband's theory.

In an open letter, she refuted the claims by saying, "His claims are based on the most flimsy of evidence and are more of an insult than an insight into what really happened.” She also talked about how "a hair sample is unreliable."

Toxic mold was ruled out as a cause of death. 

It was reported that the LA County Department of Public Health was "investigating the possibility" of toxic mold in 2010. 

Assistant Coroner Ed Winter claimed to have spoken to Sharon Murphy, Monjack, and their attorney about "a potential mold problem" during the investigation. Murphy's mother claimed no one ever asked to come inspect her home. 


Ultimately, Winter stated there were "no indicators" that mold caused the deaths. Sharon Murphy also called the flood of misinformation "absurd."

However in December 2011, Murphy's mother filed a malpractice lawsuit against her former attorneys and alleged she was "advised to accept a settlement from the builders of the home, whom she believed had been dishonest about potential defects in the house, earlier that year rather than go after the builders for wrongful death."

The lawsuit was eventually dropped in 2013, and no review was ever made public to confirm if there was ever mold inside the home or not. 

Brittany Murphy's half-brother thinks Simon Monjack was responsible.  

Like his father, Tony Bertolotti doesn't buy the official cause of death.  


"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," he said. 

Monjack, who was a screenwriter, was reportedly over six figures in debt and even spent time behind bars. Bertolotti believed it was "money-related" and "owing money to the wrong types of people" that resulted in the couple's death.

He added, "I don't know what business decisions they were making at that time, but [the deaths] sound business-related to me." 

Bertolotti also claimed the two weren't "truly married" and that it was a "marriage of circumstance" to legally keep Monjack in the United States.


"Whenever I spoke to Brittany, she just brushed the Monjack thing off. She practically told us that it was that kind of situation. I believe they kept him in the States, he had a better chance of staying if they say he's with Brittany," he said. 

Questions still remain about Murphy's death to this day and HBO's documentary may finally provide some answers. 

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Yona Dervishi is a writer who is currently working at YourTango as an editorial intern. She covers topics pertaining to news and entertainment.