Nick Gordon, partner of the late Bobbi Kristina Brown — the only daughter of the late Whitney Houston and singer Bobby Brown — is dead at the age of 30, his lawyer said Wednesday.
In an email to The Times, attorney Joe Habachy of Atlanta said he could not speak to the specific circumstances of Gordon’s death, but he wrote that “it’s been truly heartbreaking to have witnessed first hand the total devastation that drug addiction has wreaked upon a group of young friends, all of whom were loved and had immense potential.”
Gordon was thrust into the spotlight after Bobbi Kristina Brown was found unresponsive on Jan. 31, 2015, facedown in a bathtub of a townhome she shared with Gordon near Atlanta.
Bobbi Kristina Brown was rushed to a hospital but never regained consciousness and died July 26, 2015, while in hospice care.
An autopsy of Bobbi Kristina Brown found several narcotics and prescription drugs in her body, including marijuana, alcohol and medications used for sedation or to treat anxiety. The underlying cause of death was “immersion associated with drug intoxication.” Bobbi Kristina Brown was 22, and was the sole heir to Houston’s estate.
On Feb. 11, 2012, Houston — who reigned as one of the world’s top pop stars in the 1980s and ’90s with songs like “I Will Always Love You” and “Saving All My Love for You” but suffered from recurring bouts with drugs and alcohol — was found dead after accidentally drowning in a Beverly Hills hotel room bathtub the night before the Grammy Awards. The coroner said the singer’s use of cocaine exacerbated her heart disease and played a role in her death.
A multimillion-dollar civil suit filed by the conservator of Bobbi Kristina Brown’s estate alleged that Gordon had physically abused Bobbi Kristina Brown — including knocking out teeth and dragging her up stairs — and had controlled her and had taken a significant amount of money from her without permission.
It alleged Gordon had maneuvered himself into a boyfriend role and then fraudulently represented himself as Bobbi Kristina Brown’s husband to access the multimillion-dollar estate she’d inherited.
The suit was later amended to allege that Gordon “gave Bobbi Kristina a toxic cocktail rendering her unconscious and then put her face down in a tub of cold water causing her to suffer brain damage.”
In 2016, a judge in Atlanta ruled that Gordon was liable for Brown’s death; the judge said that because Gordon repeatedly failed to meet court deadlines in the case, the conservator of Brown’s estate won by default.
In November 2016, a judge ordered Gordon to pay more than $36 million in damages. No criminal charges were filed against Gordon.
Gordon was unofficially adopted at age 12 by Houston and raised as a brother to Bobbi Kristina; they became romantically involved in the wake of Houston’s 2012 death. Gordon was not allowed to attend Bobbi Kristina Brown’s memorial service or burial.
Gordon did a stint in rehab in March 2015 after behaving erratically on an episode of “Dr. Phil” where he was to have talked about Bobbi Kristina Brown’s death. That April, he sat down again with host Phil McGraw, laughed off the civil case and the dollar amount that it sought, and dismissed the notion that he’d given his girlfriend a “toxic cocktail.”
“Think about how far-fetched and ludicrous that sounds,” Gordon told McGraw. “That’s just stupid.”
In the statement, Gordon’s lawyer, Habachy, said that despite all of the challenges Gordon faced in recent years, “he worked hard to hold his head up and stay sober and ... he genuinely wanted a happy healthy life with his family more than anything else. My heart goes out to the family and friends Nick leaves behind and to any other families dealing with the losses and heartache caused by drugs.”
Times staff writer Christie D’Zurilla contributed to this report.