Mumbai: In a dramatic twist to the sudden death of Bollywood legend Sridevi, an autopsy report issued by authorities in Dubai on Monday said that she had died of “accidental drowning” in her hotel bathtub, after losing consciousness.
Meanwhile, there could be further delay in the return of her mortal remains with the Dubai police informing the Indian Embassy that another "clearance" was awaited before it could release the body.
The death that has left legions of fans and industry colleagues stunned on Sunday, now leaves them grappling for answers to solve the mystery surrounding her shocking death.
The Dubai-based Gulf News said in a report that "traces of alcohol" was found in her blood.
While Sridevi’s mortal remains were expected to reach India by Monday evening for the last rites, now it’s not clear when they will be released by the Dubai authorities as media reports suggest that the repatriation procedure remains “open-ended”.
Earlier on Sunday, it was widely reported that Sridevi had died of a massive cardiac arrest around 3am.
The Dubai government said in a tweet on Monday that the police have transferred the case to the "Dubai Public Prosecution", which will carry out regular legal procedures followed in such cases.
"Following the completion of post mortem analysis, Dubai police headquarters today stated that the death of the Indian actress Sridevi occurred due to drowning in her hotel apartment's bath tub following loss of consciousness," the Dubai government's media office said on Twitter.
It is not clear what caused Sridevi, 54, to lose consciousness, and whether the initial report of her death due to cardiac arrest still holds. Her death, which was first reported at around 3 am on Sunday in India, sent shockwaves across the country with those who knew her at a loss to explain how she could have suffered cardiac arrest at such a young age.
#News:Following the completion of post-mortem analysis, #DubaiPolice today stated that the death of Indian actress #Sridevi occurred due to drowning in her hotel apartment’s bathtub following loss of consciousness.1/2 pic.twitter.com/xqKQu3WzAd— Dubai Policeشرطة دبي (@DubaiPoliceHQ) February 26, 2018
The latest report of “accidental drowning” only deepens the mystery surrounding her death.
Her family has not commented beyond their initial statement on Sunday to announce the death, and has requested the media to not contact them as they deal with the tragedy.
Sridevi is survived by her husband, producer Boney Kapoor and daughters Khushi and Janhvi.
Gulf News also attached a copy of the UAE government's forensic report on its Twitter handle. The report, citing accidental drowning as the cause of death, has a stamp of the "Ministry of Health UAE" and the director of preventive medicine, Dubai, Dr Sami Wadie.
The autopsy report mentions the actor's full name, "Sreedevi Boney Kapoor Ayyappan", her passport number, date of the incident (February 24, 2018) and cause of death.
"The investigation is still going on to determine the circumstances surrounding the accident as the forensic report only says that she drowned, Gulf News quoted an official as saying.
Her body has been sent for embalming, the newspaper said. It is not clear when the body will be brought back to India.
Sridevi was in Dubai for a family wedding, and had stayed back after the ceremonies. Her husband had flown back to Mumbai with their younger daughter Khushi, but he had returned to Dubai to surprise her, according to Khaleej Times.
He was reportedly in the room when Sridevi went to the bathroom to get ready for a dinner, according to Khaleej Times. It said Kapoor discovered her unconscious in the bathtub filled with water. She was rushed to the hospital where she was declared dead on arrival.
Meanwhile in Mumbai, many Bollywood celebrities visited the home of actor Anil Kapoor, the brother of Boney Kapoor. Sridevi's two daughters, Khushi and upcoming actor Jahnvi are staying at the house.
Among those who visited to condole Sridevi's death were Farah Khan, Farhan Akhtar, Tabu, Saroj Khan, Rekha, Rani Mukherji, Karan Johar, Manish Malhotra and Aumpam Kher.
Police officials at Anil Kapoor's house said as many as 150 people from Karnataka came to pay homage to Sridevi, while another group from Telangana gathered outside the actor's Lokhandwala residence. Fans from Rajasthan and other parts of India had also arrived.
Before making it big in Bollywood in late 1970s, she was already an established star in South India with many hits in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam movies.
At Kapoor's house, police have increased security and cordoned off the area to keep fans at a distance.
(With PTI inputs)