By CBSLA Staff

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) – Actress Tawny Kitaen’s cause of death was revealed to be dilated cardiomyopathy, or heart disease, on Thursday.

Five months after she passed away on May 7, 2021, the Orange County Coroner’s Office confirmed that her passing was natural and also partially attributed to mild coronary atherosclerosis, or coronary artery disease. She was reported to have a variety of antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication and painkillers in her system including hydrocodone, alprazolam, mirtazapine, pregbalin and acetaminophen.

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Kitaen was very well known for her stunning natural beauty, made appearances in 1980’s rock band album covers and music videos, including Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again,” “Still of the Night,” and “Is This Love,” as well as Ratt’s “Back for More.” Kitaen’s repeat appearances in Whitesnake’s videos eventually turned into marriage with lead singer David Coverdale, and her appearance in Ratt’s music video came at a time that she was dating the band’s guitarist, Robbin Crosby. She is also known for her affair with O.J. Simpson, while he was married to Nicole Brown Simpson.

She starred in television programs and films from 1976 to 2012 and some of her most noted appearances include “Bachelor Party” and “Malibu.” Kitaen regained popularity in the 2000’s when she appeared on “The Surreal Life” in 2006 and “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew” in 2012, where she discussed problems with substance abuse.

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Born Julie Kitaen in 1961, she adopted the nickname “Tawny” early on in her life. Kitaen had a series of legal issues surround her during the later years of her life, as she was charged for domestic violence in 2002 for kicking then-husband and MLB player, Chuck Finley, in the face with high heels. She was arrested in 2006 for felony drug-possession of cocaine and in both 2009 and 2019 she was charged with driving under the influence.

In recent years, she was working on a series of memoirs surrounding her life and rise to fame in the 1980’s.

Her daughters, Wynter and Raine, posted a message in response to their mother’s death “We are heartbroken and saddened to announce the death of our mom,” they said. “We just want to say thank you for all of you, her fans and her friends, for always showing her such support and love. You gave her life everyday. We miss her and love her and we know her legacy will live on forever.”

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