Cause of Death for Whitesnake Model and ’80s Icon Tawny Kitaen Revealed

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In May, the rock and metal worlds were disheartened to hear that Tawny Kitaen, the model and actress who became a hair metal video vixen based largely off of her appearance in Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again” video, had passed away at the age of 59. Now, Kitaen’s cause of death has been revealed.

As reported by Blabbermouth, a spokesperson for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department in California announced that Kitaen’s death was caused by dilated cardiomyopathy. The manner of death was ruled natural.

Other specific conditions taken into account surrounding Kitaen’s death were mild coronary atherosclerosis (clogged arteries); mirtazapine (antidepressant), mirtazapine metabolite, alprazolam (Xanax), acetaminophen (Tylenol), pregabalin (nerve pain medication) and hydrocodone (opioid).

At the time of her death, Tawny’s death was announced by her children Wynter and Raine, who posted the following statement to her Instagram: “We are heartbroken and saddened to announce the death of our mom. We just want to say thank you for all of you, her fans and her friends, for always showing her such love and support. You gave her life everyday. We miss her and love her and we know her legacy will live on forever.”


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A post shared by Tawny Kitaen 🧜🏻‍♀️ (@tawnykitaenofficial)

Kitaen’s first major break in the rock world was her appearance on two album covers by hair metal legends Ratt, first their 1983 debut and then 1984’s breakthrough hit Out of the Cellar, featuring the band’s smash single “Round and Round.”

However, it was Kitaen’s appearance in Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again” video, in which she danced on the hoods of sports cars and hung out of a car window while frontman (and her later husband) David Coverdale was driving. Though Tawny also appearance in Whitesnake videos like “In The Still of the Night” and “Is This Love,” it was her appearance in “Here I Go Again” that made her an iconic figure of the 1980s, and coined the idea of the heavy metal video vixen.

Kitaen also portrayed Tom Hanks’ fiancé in the comedy Bachelor Party and Jerry Seinfeld’s girlfriend in the Seinfeld episode “The Nose Job.”

Everyone at The Pit sends their heart out to Kitaen’s friends, family, fans and collaborators during this difficult time.


Words by Chris Krovatin