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People in the news

By United Press International   |   March 23, 2012 at 4:00 AM

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The latest news on today's hottest celebrities ...

WHITNEY HOUSTON: The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office said Whitney Houston used cocaine immediately before she drowned in a Beverly Hills, Calif., hotel bathtub.

The recording star died Feb. 11 at age 48 after battling drug and alcohol addiction for years.

Officials waited until toxicology tests were completed before announcing the cause of death as accidental drowning Thursday.

TMZ quoted Coroner Chief Craig Harvey as saying test results suggested Whitney was a "chronic" cocaine user.

Also found in her system were marijuana, Benadryl, Flexeril and Xanax, but Harvey said they did not significantly contribute to her death, TMZ reported.

A source close to Houston told the celebrity news Web site an individual removed cocaine from the hotel room before authorities arrived.

The insider said the person who took the cocaine had also supplied it.


ERIKA VAN PELT: Erika Van Pelt, a 26-year-old disc jockey, was eliminated from "American Idol" in Los Angeles Thursday.

Van Pelt was voted off the singing competition series after performing "New York State of Mind" on Wednesday's Billy Joel-themed night.

Nine contestants remain in the competition after Van Pelt's ouster.


HILARY DUFF: U.S. actress Hilary Duff announced via Twitter Thursday she has given birth to a son, her first child with husband Mike Comrie.

"Welcome to the World Luca Cruz Comrie! Tuesday evening, we became proud parents of a healthy 7 pound 6 ounce beautiful boy," the 24-year-old actress Tweeted. "We are overjoyed and feel like the luckiest parents in the world. He is surrounded by so much love!! Mom and baby are both doing extremely well."

Duff and Comrie, who plays for the Ottawa Senators hockey team, married in August 2010.


MADONNA: U.S. pop star Madonna says she has added a second show at Ramat Gan Stadium in Tel Aviv to her upcoming concert tour.

The singer has dubbed the May 31 show a "Concert for Peace" and is inviting several peace organizations to honor and acknowledge people seeking harmony in the Middle East.

Details about the participating organizations will be announced shortly, Live Nation said.

"Music is so universal and if there's any chance that through my performance I can bring further attention and enlightenment to honor the peace efforts in the Middle East and help people come together, it would be an honor for me. It is my way of thanking those who are making so much effort toward bringing peace to the Middle East," Madonna said in a statement Wednesday.

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