A court official said Friday that death threats had been made against pop superstar Madonna and possibly were the reason she canceled her scheduled appearance at a civil trial over a dispute with a neighbor.

"Sheriff's deputies said one of the attorneys in the case told them there were some death threats (made against Madonna)," said Rebecca Kuzins, public information officer for the Los Angeles Superior Court.Deputies beefed up security at the trial. Kuzins said the increased security is common practice when a celebrity is expected in court.

Madonna had been ordered by Superior Court Judge Sally Disco to appear in court for the start of the civil trial Friday, but she did not appear. The judge rescinded the order after attorneys for Madonna and her next-door neighbor, real estate broker Donald Robinson, agreed to use a sworn deposition Madonna previously gave in lieu of her testimony.