Authorities in Dubai say they have determined the death of Indian superstar Sridevi was the result of drowning in her hotel bathtub following a loss of consciousness. When the actress passed away in Dubai on Saturday, initial reports said the cause of death was cardiac arrest. The case has now been transferred to Dubai Public Prosecution “which will carry out regular legal procedures followed in such cases,” Dubai Police said via its Twitter account on Monday afternoon local time.
Known simply as Sridevi to her legions of fans, the actress was 54 at the time of her death and was in Dubai with her family to attend a wedding. Her passing was followed by an eruption of mourning, and today’s news has sparked feverish speculation over the circumstances. A document purported to be a forensic report has made the rounds with the cause of death listed as “accidental drawning [sic].” When reached for comment, Dubai Police referred Deadline to its Twitter account (see below).
Sridevi featured in almost 300 films, including classics Mr India, Chandni, ChaalBaaz and Sadma. She briefly retired from the film industry in 1997 following the release of Judaai, but made a triumphant return in 2012’s English Vinglish. Part of her appeal was that she crossed over in the Tamil, Telugu, Malaylam, Kannada and Hindi languages, and was considered one of the few Indian females capable of huge box office without a male hero.
The Indian government awarded her the Padma Shri, its fourth-highest civilian honor, in 2013.
Preparations are underway in Mumbai for Sridevi’s funeral once her body is repatriated from Dubai.