Were Brittany Murphy and Simon Monjack clueless about toxic mold growing within their midst?
The late actress' mother, Sharon Murphy, is shooting down a TMZ report that dangerous spores from a leak in their Hollywood home may have been partly to blame in her daughter and son-in-law's sudden deaths.
"I have never been personally asked by the Coroner or anyone from the Health Department to come and inspect my home for mold," said the elder Murphy, who resided with the couple. "In the last eight months, I have been through the most unimaginable events, which no one could ever fathom. I have and will continue to be very cooperative and fully comply with any such request. It's absurd that this kind of misinformation is being reported by the media."
The specter of a mold problem first surfaced last week after TMZ claimed that the Department of Public Health had decided to investigate whether toxic spores played a role in the couple's deaths after the screenwriter was found to have died in nearly the same manner as his wife.
Monjack's cause of death was listed as pneumonia and severe anemia while Murphy's was due to pneumonia, severe anemia and multiple drug intoxication from legal prescription medications.
TMZ quoted law enforcement insiders as saying that while investigators decided mold was not a "contributing factor," health officials wanted to be sure and had asked Murphy to inspect the residence, and she relented.
Murphy's publicist, Roger Neal, noted that she and Monjack had been aware of some seepage in the house and we're planning to do something about it.
"It is my understanding that due to the inferior products used by the builder and subcontractors, the Murphy home had a persistent leak problem," the rep said. "In fact, Simon Monjack insisted on hiring an attorney and filed a lawsuit against the builder and subcontractors."
The attorney hired a mold company that inspected the house that gave its report to Monjack, assuring the family that there was no danger.
But Sharon Murphy said that she discounted the mold theory after reviewing the findings firsthand over the weekend.
Backing her up was one of the Murphy estate's lawyers, Michael Schiff: "To the best of my knowledge there has been no evidence of mold at the Murphy residence. The coroner confirmed with me today that black mold was not the cause of Simon Monjack's death. coroner Ed Winter told me the case is closed and the cause of death was pneumonia."
California's Department of Public Health declined to comment, Winters confirmed to E! News that "we reported it to Public Health. I do not know how they plan on proceeding."
—Reporting by Whitney English
E! Online pays tribute to the fallen star with our Brittany Murphy: A Life In Pictures gallery.