Her death was first reported by TMZ. According to the website, at 8 AM, Murphy’s husband, Simon Monjack, placed a call to 911 from their Hollywood home and the actress was subsequently rushed to Cedars Sinai Hospital where she was pronounced dead of a cardiac arrest.
“The sudden loss of our beloved Brittany is a terrible tragedy,” Murphy’s family said in a statement to Usmagazine. “She was our daughter, our wife, our love and a shining star. We ask you to respect our privacy at this time.”
“2day the world lost a little piece of sunshine,” Murphy’s former boyfriend Ashton Kutcher, wrote on his Twitter page. “My deepest condolences go out 2 Brittany’s family, her husband, & her amazing mother Sharon.”
Murphy had a reputation as a large but troubled talent. On and off screen, her over-sized, expressive eyes conveyed a range of emotions that even in casual conversation belied her sweetness, fragility and uneasiness.
“In this time of sadness, the family thanks you for your love and support. It is their wish that you respect their privacy,” her rep said in a statement.
Last month, she left a recent film project in Puerto Rico amid reports she was fired, and then her husband was hospitalized at LAX after their November 28 flight landed. Murphy had claimed he’d had an asthma attack.
Born in Atlanta, Murphy was raised in New Jersey. She began acting at age 9 in regional theater. Encouraged by her precocious talent, Murphy’s mother moved her to L.A. at age 13 and she landed her first part on the TV series ‘Blossom.’
She made her breakthrough screen appearance opposite Alicia Silverstone in the 1995 comedy ‘Clueless.’ Five years later, Murphy displayed her remarkable acting range in ‘Girl, Interrupted,” playing Daisy Randone, a girl who had been sexually abused an developed an eating disorder.
Murphy’s portrayal was so vivid that rumors of an eating disorder haunted her in real life, as did whispers she used and abused drugs, which she vehemently denied.
News of her death sent shockwaves across Hollywood.
“My deepest condonlences go out to all of Brittany Murphy’s loved ones& may she rest in peace,” Lindsay Lohan Tiwttered. “She was a great talent w/a beautiful soul xo”
Added Jessica Simpson: “Brittany Murphy was an incredible ray of Light to so many people. Her smile was contagious. My prayers are with her family and loved ones.”
“am beyond words by the loss of Brittany Murphy,” Soliel Moon Frye also wrote. “I was so blessed to know your grace. My heart goes out to your mama+ loved ones.”
Murphy was extremely close to her mother.
“When I asked my mom to move to California, she sold everything and moved out here for me,” Murphy told the AP in 2003. “I was really grateful to have grown up in an environment that was conducive to creating and didn’t stifle any of that. She always believed in me.”
She had a serious relationship with Ashton Kutcher after starring together in ‘Just Married.’ In 2004, she was also engaged for a brief time to her manager, Jeff Kwatinetz.
“I’ve always seen myself as one of those ‘show people,” she once said. “My earliest memories are wanting and needing to entertain people, like a gypsy traveler who goes from place to place, city to city, performing for audiences and reaching people.”
Watch ‘Falling Sky,’ a full feature movie starring Murphy.