Simon Monjack died “just like Brittany” Murphy, his wife, who died from pneumonia months earlier at age 32, the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office ruled. But nearly one decade later, questions still surround the death of Monjack and his Hollywood starlet wife.
Monjack and Murphy were both relatively healthy before they died suddenly, Murphy at age 32 on December 20, 2009, and Monjack at age 40 on May 23, 2010. But the Los Angeles County Coroner determined that they both died from natural causes. Monjack was a British screenwriter. Read more about Brittany Murphy’s cause of death here.
The death of Simon Monjack and Brittany Murphy are being examined on Investigation Discovery’s Nine at 9, Tuesday, May 26, 2020.
Here’s what you need to know:
A Noted Forensic Pathologist Said He Would Have Reopened Brittany Murphy’s Death Investigation After Her Husband Died
There were theories surrounding Brittany Murphy’s death that increased after her husband’s death just five months later. Both of their deaths were listed as caused by pneumonia and anemia. Brittany Murphy’s estranged father, Angelo Bertolli, filed a lawsuit in his daughter’s death. He sued the Los Angeles County Department of the Coroner, claiming they did not thoroughly investigate Murphy’s death and requested hairs for toxin sampling. Brittany Murphy’s mother, Sharon Murphy, also filed a lawsuit, claiming malpractice by home builders. She lived with her daughter and son-in-law in Hollywood Hills in the former home of Brittney Spears.
Sharon Murphy’s lawsuit alleged the home builders were dishonest about possible defects in the house. Months before Brittany Murphy’s death, the house was inspected and deemed habitable, according to E News.
The results of an environmental review were never made public. Sharon Murphy dropped the lawsuit in 2013.
The coroner told CNN there was no indication that mold caused Murphy’s pneumonia or death.
Bertolli’s lawsuit was dismissed. The lab results found possible toxins in Murphy’s hair in 2013, but an expert told CNN those findings were “ridiculous” and likely attributed to hair products.
However, Dr. Cyril Wecht, a noted forensic pathologist who worked on several high-profile cases, said he would have reopened the death investigation.
“I would have checked to see if the private lab results were valid and, if they could be corroborated and analyzed, whether there was exposure and where did the exposure come from,” Wecht told E News in 2016. “You have two people—a husband and a wife—dying five months of each other. And, not engaging in any wild speculation, with two young people dying five months apart you’ve got to check it out, and I still don’t know what happened.”
Simon Monjack Died of Pneumonia ‘Just Like Brittany’ & Was Buried Beside His Wife
Simon Monjack died from pneumonia and anemia, “just like Brittany,” an autopsy report concluded, according to CNN. While controversy and mystery surrounded both deaths, Sharon Murphy said in a letter to The Hollywood Reporter that she came to accept the coroner’s ruling of natural causes, and accepts that some questions will never be answered.
“We will never know for sure,” she wrote. “However, we do know the Los Angeles County Coroner did extensive tests and found that she died of natural causes. And now she is a real living angel in heaven.”
Monjack was buried beside Brittany Murphy in Hollywood Hills, according to Find a Grave. His headstone describes him as a “renaissance man and all that jazz.”
His memorial said:
Screenwriter, producer, director, and photographer. He was married to actress, Brittany Murphy, who died December 20, 2009. Born in Hillingdon, Greater London, his father died in 1986, and his mother Linda, a hypnotherapist, resides in Buckinghamshire, England. Monjack directed, produced, and co-wrote the screenplay for the film, “Two Days, Nine Lives” (2000). He was the executive producer and writer behind the Edie Sedgwick biography, “Factory Girl” (2006). Monjack and Murphy married in 2007. To honor his wife, he dedicated himself to carrying on her legacy by co-creating, with Brittany’s mother Sharon Murphy, the ‘Brittany Murphy Foundation.’ The foundation’s focus is on arts education for children, as well as supporting the USO and cancer research, of which Brittany was passionate.