Brittany Murphy's '8 Mile' Costar Taryn Manning Remembers Her as 'Whimsical and Full of Laughter'

A new HBO Max documentary, What Happened, Brittany Murphy?, is covering the mystery surrounding the actress's death

Brittany Murphy's death is the subject of a new HBO Max documentary but her former costar Taryn Manning is choosing to remember the actress's incredible life.

"She was free-spirited, whimsical and full of laughter," Manning, 42, tells PEOPLE in this week's cover story about Murphy, who died in 2009 at the age of 32.

Manning appears in the new documentary What Happened, Brittany Murphy?, produced by Blumhouse Television and out on Oct. 14, where she recalls receiving a letter written by Murphy on the set of their 2002 film 8 Mile.

The moment was just one example of Murphy's enduring kindness, Manning says.

"She loved to dance and have fun and was nice to everyone," she tells PEOPLE. "She was a true star, a sparkling, twinkling, beautiful spirit."

Brittany Murphy’s 8 Mile Costar Taryn Manning
Chris Polk/FilmMagic

Manning adds, "I don't think Brittany had a mean bone in her body."

For more on PEOPLE's cover story about Brittany Murphy and other top stories, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

The new documentary revisits the mysterious death of the beloved actress, known for her work on films like Clueless, Uptown Girls, Little Black Book and Girl, Interrupted.

8 Mile
Eli Reed/shutterstock

Murphy collapsed at her Los Angeles home just five days before Christmas in 2009. In February 2010, L.A. County Coroner Asst. Chief Ed Winter concluded that Murphy's death was the result of untreated pneumonia, combined with anemia and drug intoxication from prescription and over-the-counter medications, including painkillers and cold medicine.

As news of her death broke, her fans, friends and costars began sharing tribute messages to the late star. One of the most heartfelt came from her ex-boyfriend and Just Married costar Ashton Kutcher.


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"[Today] the world lost a little piece of sunshine. My deepest condolences go out [to] Brittany's family, her husband, & her amazing mother Sharon. See you on the other side kid," he wrote on Twitter.

Her Clueless costar Alicia Silverstone also remembered her, sharing her feelings about the connection the two had shared.

"I'm so saddened to hear this news. I loved working with Brittany. She was so talented, so warm and so sweet. I always felt connected to her as we shared a very special experience in our lives together. I feel love in my heart for her and hope she is at peace."

What Happened, Brittany Murphy? begins streaming on HBO Max on Oct. 14.

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