Page last updated at 01:14 GMT, Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Brittany Murphy's family pay tribute to 'shining star'

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Clips from Brittany Murphy's career (footage courtesy Paramount Pictures)

The family of US actress Brittany Murphy have paid tribute to their "shining star" after she died at the age of 32.

Murphy, who starred in Clueless and 8 Mile, collapsed at home in Los Angeles and was pronounced dead in hospital.

An autopsy has been carried out but the cause of her death is not yet known.

A family statement said the "loss of our beloved Brittany is a terrible tragedy. She was our daughter, our wife, our love and a shining star."

It added: "We ask you to respect our privacy at this time."

Murphy's father, Angelo Bertolotti, said: "She was just an absolute doll since she was born.

"Her personality was always outward. Everybody loved her - people that made movies with her, people on a cruise - they all loved her."

Unconscious

Murphy was pronounced dead at 1004 (1804 GMT) on Sunday at a hospital near Beverly Hills.

Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter confirms the death of Brittany Murphy

She had been taken there after the Los Angeles Fire Department responded to a call at the Hollywood Hills home she shared with her husband, British screenwriter Simon Monjack.

She is reported to have been found unconscious in the shower.

Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said the authorities were looking into her medical history.

"It appears to be natural," he added.

An autopsy was carried out on Monday, but the official cause of death may not be determined for some time as toxicology tests are required.

There are reports that Murphy had been suffering from flu-like symptoms or laryngitis.

Los Angeles police have opened an investigation into the death but said there were no signs of foul play.

'An absolute doll'

A neighbour, Clare Staples, said she had seen firefighters working to resuscitate the actress on Sunday morning, the Associated Press reports.

The home of Simon Monjack, Brittany Murphy's husband, seen on 20 December
Murphy collapsed at her home

The actress's husband, wearing pyjama bottoms and no shoes, appeared "dazed" as the firefighters tried to save her, Ms Staples added.

Actor Ashton Kutcher, who played opposite Murphy in 2003's Just Married and later dated her, paid tribute on Twitter: "See you on the other side kid... 2day the world lost a little piece of sunshine.

"My deepest condolences go out 2 Brittany's family, her husband, and her amazing mother Sharon," he added.

Alicia Silverstone, who starred with Murphy in high school comedy Clueless, told People magazine: "I loved working with Brittany. She was so talented, so warm, and so sweet.

I got the impression she had been burned by reporters before and was anxious for it not to happen again
BBC Entertainment news reporter Neil Smith on his encounter with Brittany Murphy

"I always felt connected to her as we shared a very special experience in our lives together.

"I feel love in my heart for her - and hope she is at peace. This is truly sad."

Murphy left the production of indie film The Caller earlier this month. Her agent said she had quit because of "creative differences".

Going to California

Born in Atlanta, Murphy grew up in New Jersey but moved to Los Angeles with her mother to pursue acting.

Brittany Murphy and husband Simon Monjack in LA 2007
Murphy was married to British screenwriter Simon Monjack

"When I asked my mom to move to California, she sold everything and moved out here for me," Murphy once said.

"I was really grateful to have grown up in an environment that was conducive to creating and didn't stifle any of that."

She started her career with recurring roles in TV series including Blossom, Party of Five and Sister, Sister, but came to attention as Tai Frasier - the "tragically unhip" slacker given a makeover by Alicia Silverstone's character, Cher.

Her most acclaimed role came opposite rapper Eminem in his biopic 8 Mile.

Speaking to the BBC about that film, she said: "What I love is the way it explores the willingness to get out of where you are, and the fact that you actually can make it, no matter what."

Murphy's other movie appearances included Girl, Interrupted, Sin City and Riding In Cars With Boys.

Her on-screen roles declined in recent years but Murphy voiced characters for the hit US television series King of the Hill and animated movie Happy Feet.

She is due to appear in Sylvester Stallone's film, The Expendables, set for release next year.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.



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SEE ALSO
The day I met Brittany Murphy
21 Dec 09 |  Entertainment
In pictures: Brittany Murphy
21 Dec 09 |  Front Page
Brittany Murphy: Your comments
21 Dec 09 |  Entertainment

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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
Time Family: Brittany Murphy was Ill Before Death - 5 hrs ago
Cape TimesWorld loses 'a little piece of sunshine' as actress Brittany Murphy dies suddenly - 6 hrs ago
Telegraph Brittany Murphy: British husband has 'world destroyed' by actress's death - 10 hrs ago
MSNBC Murphy autopsy finds no signs of trauma - 13 hrs ago
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