What We Know About Tawny Kitaen's Official Cause Of Death

Tawny Kitaen's name was synonymous with the rock and roll lifestyle. The actress shot to fame performing in music videos, best known for her work in the video for Whitesnake's hit '80s power ballad "Here I Go Again." She also appeared in the band's video for "Is This Love" (via TMZ). However, Kitaen did more than just music videos. She was an actress who starred in films such as "After Midnight," "The Perils of Gwendoline," and co-starred with Hollywood A-lister Tom Hanks in the comedy "Bachelor Party" (via IMDb). Later in her life, she bared her soul on reality television by appearing on shows such as "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew," "Botched" and "The Surreal Life," per Variety.

In May 2021, news broke that Kitaen had died at the age of 59. Her death came as a shock to her fans. Following her passing, the actress' daughters, Wynter and Raine, shared a statement about their mother's passing. "We are heartbroken and saddened to announce the death of our mom. We just want to say thank you for all of you, her fans and her friends, for always showing her such support and love," the statement read. "You gave her life everyday. We miss her and love her and we know her legacy will live on forever." While fans reeled from the news of Kitaen's death, no official cause of death was revealed at first.

Tawny died of heart disease and other contributing factors

The news of Tawny Kitaen's death stunned fans, and intrigue immediately began to grow surrounding the cause. The actress was said to have died in her Newport Beach, California home on May 7. Now, five months later, her official cause of death has been revealed by the Orange County Coroner's Office.

People Magazine reports that Kitaen died from dilated cardiomyopathy, which is a common type of heart disease. There were other contributing factors to her death as well, which included mild coronary atherosclerosis, as well as medications such as mirtazapine, mirtazapine metabolite, alprazolam, acetaminophen, pregabalin, and hydrocodone. Page Six reports that those medications included antidepressants, sedatives, nerve pain medication, and opioids. The actress had previously been open about her substance abuse (via Los Angeles Times). She was charged with cocaine possession in 2006, as well as driving under the influence in 2009. She had also been arrested in 2002 for spousal abuse and battery of her then-husband, pro baseball player Chuck Finley (per ESPN). The case was dismissed the following year.

Fans may not find it any easier to know how Kitaen died, but they know her memory will live on through her body of work.

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