Actress Brittany Murphy died of what appeared to be natural causes, a coroner’s official has said.

The 32-year-old actress, who got her start in the hit Clueless and rose to stardom in 8 Mile, was pronounced dead at 10.04am at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre, hospital spokeswoman Sally Stewart said.

Brittany was transported to the hospital after the Los Angeles Fire Department responded to a call at 8am at the home she shared with her husband, British screenwriter Simon Monjack, in the Hollywood Hills.

Assistant chief coroner Ed Winter said the star apparently collapsed in the bathroom, and authorities were looking into her medical history.

An official cause of death may not be determined for some time, since toxicology tests will be required, but “it appears to be natural”, Mr Winter said.

He said an autopsy was planned for Monday or Tuesday.

Mr Winter said Brittany’s family was co-operating with the coroner’s investigation but would not be releasing a public statement. He said funeral arrangements have not been announced.

Los Angeles police have opened an investigation into the death.

Detectives and coroner’s officials were at the couple’s home on Sunday afternoon but did not talk to reporters. Paparazzi were camped outside the property, located above the Sunset Strip.

Neighbour Clare Staples said she saw firefighters working to resuscitate the actress. She said Brittany was on a stretcher and “looked as though she was dead at the scene”.