BRITTANY MURPHY could have been saved! Her secret drug use and the iron-fisted control of her alleged con man husband left her isolated from the very friends who could have prevented her tragic death, say those close to her.

The 32-year-old rail-thin actress passed away Dec. 20 from an apparent cardiac arrest.

"She was sweet and fragile and just wanted to please, but the odds were stacked against
her," a longtime friend told The ENQUIRER.

"She was helplessly dependent on drugs. And her husband, Simon Monjack, kept her from many people who loved and worried about her. "This heartbreaking loss could have been avoided."

The star of such hits as Clueless, 8 Mile and Just Married was discovered unconscious by her mother and rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles where she was pronounced dead.

Numerous prescription pill bottles reportedly were found near her. And while toxicology results were still pending, shocked friends told The ENQUIRER that Brittany's personal life had become a path to destruction.

"Brittany's death boils down to drugs and shutting out her friends after meeting Simon," charged her angry friend.

"He was a possessive control freak."

Brittany also struggled with weight issues and insecurity. Drugs were a recurring threat throughout her Hollywood years, dating back to her work on 8 Mile in Detroit almost eight years ago, said a source who worked on the film.

"Brittany came close to the edge once before," recalled the source.

Just before filming ended on the 2002 hit, "an assistant found Brittany passed out on the bathroom floor of her hotel room. She wasn't breathing. They thought she was dead."

An on-set medic revived her and took her to an emergency room.

"She'd taken too many pills and she also was doing a lot of cocaine," said the source. "Producers made her take a couple of days off."

The incident was covered up by Brittany's handlers, according to the source.

A few years later at an Austin, Texas, music festival, Brittany "broke out containers of cocaine and snorted line after line during the show," recalled another friend. "That memory haunts me."

The beautiful star spiraled downhill after marrying British producer/screenwriter Simon
Monjack in 2007, say sources.

He had multiple civil judgments against him. "She had to shell out a lot of money to get him out of trouble," divulged another close friend. "Brittany paid off his debts."

Even worse, Simon, 39, began managing her career, and her movie paychecks plummeted - from $4 million per picture to $100,000, charged the source. Brittany was reportedly fired from her latest movie, "The Caller," before filming began in San Juan.

"Brittany paid the ultimate price for fame. It cost her her life."


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