The daughter of Bobby Brown and the late Whitney Houston was found unresponsive in the bathtub of her Roswell, Georgia, home and rushed to a hospital on Jan. 31. (The cause of her death remains under investigation.) The state in which Brown was found – eerily echoing the position her mother was in before she died in 2012 – recalled the struggles she had faced in her young life.
After her mother’s death, Brown struggled to cope with the harsh reality. She was “plagued by demons,” a source previously told PEOPLE. “She surrounds herself with bad influences and she can’t get beyond them.”
Multiple sources also told PEOPLE that in her distress, Brown developed substance abuse issues, which both of her parents struggled with. According to sources, besides sometimes drinking heavily, she also used heroin, cocaine and Xanax in the months leading up to the January incident.
“Bobbi Kristina will be the first person to say that she has used in the past, and that she dealt with a lot of pressure from growing up in the spotlight,” a source close to the family previously told PEOPLE.
The source continued, “The last time I talked to her was before Halloween, and I said, ‘You know that we’re worried about you. I hope you’re not using.’ And she said, ‘I know how my mother died, and I’ve learned from her mistakes.’ ” (During a later investigation, it was found that Houston died of an accidental drowning, heart disease and cocaine use. She also had marijuana, Xanax, Benadryl and other medication in her system.)
Added the source: “She swore up and down that she wasn’t using, and she seemed very adamant.”
Despite the reassurance, Bobbi Kristina – who made several attempts at rehab in the years following her mother’s death – continued to face turmoil.
After inheriting some of her mother’s fortune, she found solace in boyfriend Nick Gordon, and the two lived together in Atlanta. But because Houston had taken Gordon in at the age of 12 and Bobbi Kristina had been an unofficial adoptive brother to Brown sister to him, the relationship raised questions among friends and family.
“Nick knew that a lot of the family weren’t fans of his,” a source close to the family previously told PEOPLE. “He sort of kept her away from some of her family members because he didn’t want [the family] to say bad things about him to [Bobbi Kristina] Everyone had a preconceived notion about him, and it wasn’t always fair. But he didn’t do himself any favors.”
Despite the comfort she found in the romance, there were signs that the union was far from harmonious. Two days before Brown was found unresponsive, she Tweeted: “On my own.”
While she was hospitalized, Gordon continued pushing for visitation rights, but he was ultimately barred by her family. After a stint in rehab, he was served with a $10 million lawsuit by Brown’s conservators, who accused him of domestic abuse and of stealing money from her.
The papers allege that Gordon, who is said to be “devastated” over Brown’s death, misrepresented himself as her husband in hopes of controlling her and her interactions with others.
According to the papers, Gordon “often answered Brown’s personal cell phone, would not allow her to make appointments without his approval, and manipulated her bank relationship so that he could access her money.” Also, Gordon allegedly transferred a “large portion” of Brown’s funds into an account controlled by him.
While Brown’s life, which was cut short too soon, was often marked by difficulty, those close to her are finding some solace in the fact that she is now “finally at peace.”
According to a statement released by her loved ones, she died “surrounded by her family” and “is finally at peace in the arms of God.”
Adds a family member: Bobby is “very emotional, but at the same time, he knows that Krissy is in a better place now He is taking comfort in the fact that she’s with her mother, and that there will be no more sadness or pain.”
• Reporting by STEVE HELLING, ELISSA ROSEN and K.C. BAKER