Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of Whitney Houston, dies at the age of 22

Bobbi Kristina Brown, the daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, has died six months after going into a coma. She was 22.

Brown, who was found unresponsive in her bathtub in Atlanta in January, died at a hospice in Duluth, Georgia, on Sunday.

Kristen Foster, a family representative, said: “Bobbi Kristina Brown passed away surrounded by her family. She is finally at peace in the arms of God. We want to again thank everyone for their tremendous amount of love and support during these last few months.”

Whitney Houston on stage with Bobbi Kristina in New York in 1999. Photograph: L Busacca/Getty Images

As the news of her death spread across social media, several celebrities tweeted their condolences.

Grammy-winning performer Missy Elliot tweeted: “My heart is truly heavy. May u rest in peace with your mommy”.

And Oprah Winfrey tweeted: “Peace at Last!”

The incident that led to her death echoed her mother’s death three years earlier. Whitney Houston was found dead in her bathtub.

The police report into the discovery of Brown called it a “drowning”. Nick Gordon, her foster brother and the man she called her husband, found her in the bath. He said at the time that it seemed she wasn’t breathing and lacked a pulse before help arrived.

Authorities on Monday said an autopsy will be needed to evaluate what led to her death.

In a statement, the Fulton County medical examiner’s office says the time that elapsed from when she was found unresponsive until her death on Sunday will “complicate” its effort to reconstruct what happened.

The medical examiner says interpreting autopsy findings will also be challenging, but said it could be helpful to address questions about what caused her to become unresponsive.

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Bobbi Kristina was the only child of Houston and the singer Bobby Brown and was brought up in the glare of publicity around her parents’ often volatile marriage. She identified herself on Twitter as “Daughter of Queen WH”, “Entertainer/Actress” and “LAST of a dying breed”.

She told Oprah Winfrey shortly after her mother’s death in 2012 that she wanted to carry on her mother’s legacy by singing, acting and dancing. But her career never took off. Actor and producer Tyler Perry said she had a future as an actor after her debut on his TV show For Better or Worse in 2012, but she only appeared in one episode. Aside from two ill-fated reality TV shows and the occasional paparazzi video, her image mostly showed up in the selfies she posted online.

She did also attend award shows and appeared on red carpets with her mother and father. She performed a duet on TV with her mother in 2009, singing My Love Is Your Love in New York’s Central Park. She became social media sensation, sending more than 11,000 tweets and attracting 164,000 followers.

Bobbi Kristina with her foster brother, Nick Gordon. Photograph: Paul Buck/EPA

But Whitney Houston, known as America’s Sweetheart, was an impossible act to follow.

The late singer sold more than 50m records in the United States alone during her career. Her voice, an ideal blend of power, grace and beauty, made classics out of songs like Saving All My Love For You, I Will Always Love You and The Greatest Love of All. She earned six Grammys and starred in the films The Bodyguard and The Preacher’s Wife.

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Bobby Brown had a bad-boy image but also became a huge star, selling platinum records with New Edition and going solo before drugs and legal woes derailed his career.

Bobbi Kristina appeared alongside both parents in 2005 on the Bravo reality show Being Bobby Brown, which captured her parents fighting, swearing and appearing in court. The Hollywood Reporter said it revealed that Brown was “even more vulgar than the tabloids suggest”, and managed “to rob Houston of any last shreds of dignity”.

Years earlier, as Houston was preparing to give birth to Bobbi Kristina, she expressly left Bobby Brown out of her will, putting everything in a trust “for the benefit of her children and more remote descendants”.

After their divorce in 2007, Houston kept custody of Bobbi Kristina and raised her alongside Gordon, an orphan three years older than her daughter. Houston brought Gordon into her family, and while she never formally adopted him or included him in the will, both teenagers called her “mom”.

The tight bond between the three of them was shattered when Houston’s assistant found the singer dead in her bathtub at the Beverly Hilton hotel just before the Grammy awards in 2012. Authorities found prescription drugs in the suite, and evidence of heart disease and cocaine in her body, but determined that it was an accidental drowning.

Bobbi Kristina, then 18, was at the hotel and became so hysterical she had to be hospitalised. “She wasn’t only a mother, she was a best friend,” she later told Oprah Winfrey.

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She and Gordon then went public with their romance, posting defiant messages online after the tabloids accused them of incest.

The Houstons appared to tolerate their relationship, appearing with them on television that year in Lifetime’s reality show The Houstons: On Our Own. But in one telling episode, the late singer’s relatives lectured the pair about drinking after they showed up in an obviously altered state, and accused Gordon of failing to take care of the grieving girl.

Relations between Gordon and some other relatives continued to sour over the past year after Bobbi Kristina was hospitalised.

A protective order barred him from being within 200ft of Pat Houston, Bobbi Kristina’s aunt. A feud erupted over whether Gordon could visit Bobbi Kristina while she stayed in the hospital.

On 24 June, Bobbi Kristina’s court-appointed representative sued Gordon, accusing him of misrepresenting his relationship with Bobbi Kristina. The complaint accused him of being violent toward her and taking more than $11,000 from her account while she was in a medically induced coma after the 31 January incident .

The lawsuit accused Gordon of assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, unjust enrichment and conversion.

  • This article was amended on 27 July 2015 to correctly identify the hotel where Whitney Houston was found dead.

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