Whitney Houston's Body Transported Nine Hours After Medics Arrived

02/12/2012 at 01:15 PM EST

Whitney Houston Dies, Body Transported Nine Hours After Medics Arrived
The L.A. County Coroner at The Beverly Hilton
NPG; Inset: Richard Young/Startraks
In the early hours of Sunday morning, while Clive Davis's pre-Grammy bash pressed on just floors below, the body of the late Whitney Houston was removed from her 4th floor room at the Beverly Hilton hotel.

At 12:45 a.m., Houston's body was transported in the back of a white coroner's vehicle – nine hours after she was declared dead – and was met by a mob of 50 cameramen. Her autopsy is presumably underway at the L.A. County Department of Coroner, which will no doubt include a toxicology test to determine the presence of drugs in her system.

The hours-long wait to remove her body was due to detectives scouring the scene for evidence.

The transport came after news first broke of the superstar's death at 48, which rocked the industry on the eve of music's biggest night, the Grammy Awards.

Although her death is still under investigation, a Beverly Hills Police Department statement suggests Houston – who is survived by her 18-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina, and her mother, Cissy Houston – was alone when she lost consciousness or died.

"Whitney Houston was positively identified at the scene by members of her entourage, which included friends, coworkers and family," the statement reads. "Ms. Houston's daughter and mother were notified of her death. Beverly Hills detectives and crime scene investigators were called to the scene to conduct a death investigation."

The statement continues: "This is a common practice whenever a death occurs which is unattended and unexpected."

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