Whitesnake Video Star Tawny Kitaen’s Cause of Death Revealed
More than five months after the death of Julie E. “Tawny” Kitaen at age 59, a spokesperson for the Orange County Coroner’s Office has revealed her cause of death.
According to People, the actress and model — famous to ‘80s rock fans for starring in Whitesnake videos and appearing on Ratt album covers — died from dilated cardiomyopathy, which Mayo Clinic describes as "a disease of the heart muscle that usually starts in your heart's main pumping chamber (left ventricle).”
People’s report adds, “Other contributing factors to her death included mild coronary atherosclerosis, mirtazapine, mirtazapine metabolite, alprazolam, acetaminophen, pregabalin and hydrocodone.” Kitaen died May 7 in her Newport Beach, Calif., home.
Her link to ‘80s rock began in the early decade, after she began dating Ratt guitarist Robbin Crosby during their high school years in San Diego. She later served as the cover model for the group’s first EP, 1983’s Ratt, and their 1984 debut LP, Out of the Cellar.
Kitaen also starred in several popular Whitesnake videos, including "Here I Go Again," "Still of the Night," "Is This Love" and "The Deeper the Love.” She married the band’s singer, David Coverdale, in 1989, but they divorced two years later.
The most famous of those Whitesnake clips could be “Here I Go Again,” but as Coverdale told Heavy Consequence, Kitaen’s role was originally planned for model Claudia Schiffer.
“But that fell apart near the actual shoot,” he said. “And I was taking Tawny out for dinner, when [director] Marty Callner called me, and said, ‘You have to stop by, we have problems.’ We went to his house on the way to dinner, he opened the door, his jaw hit the floor — as you know, Tawny was an absolute beauty — and he said, ‘That’s her! She’s the Whitesnake woman!’ And I said, ‘Marty, this is a friend of mine. She’s an actress.’ And she said, ‘No, David, I’m happy to do it!’"