Whitney Houston, the pop singer, has died on the eve of the Grammy awards.

Houston, 48, had a history of drug problems.She died at the Beverly Hilton hotel where she was staying as a guest.

Houston was one of the most celebrated female singers of all time, with hits including I Will Always Love You and Saving All My Love For You.

But her later career was overshadowed by substance abuse and her turbulent marriage to singer Bobby Brown.

Police spokesman Mark Rosen told reporters Houston was pronounced dead at 15:55 pm (23:55 GMT) in her room on the fourth floor of the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Fire department personnel and members of hotel security were attempting to resuscitate her when police arrived at the scene, he said, but their efforts were unsuccessful.

“She has been positively identified by friends and family that were with her at the hotel, and next of kin have already been notified,” he added.

The cause of her death remains unclear but Mr Rosen said there were “no obvious signs of criminal intent”.

Houston’s background was steeped in soul and gospel music.

Her mother was gospel singer Cissy Houston, she was cousin to singer Dionne Warwick and goddaughter to Aretha Franklin.

“I just can’t talk about it now,” Ms Franklin said in a short statement. “It’s so stunning and unbelievable. I couldn’t believe what I was reading coming across the TV screen.”

Having grown up in New Jersey, Houston began singing in church and then in the night clubs of New York, and was a model before being signed by Arista Records.

At the height of her career in the 1980s and 90s she won many awards and enjoyed several number one singles and albums. In her career, Houston sold over 170 million albums and singles worldwide, with many hit singles. Her lead single, “I Will Always Love You,” became the best-selling album by a female artist in music history.

Artists from Mariah Carey to Christina Aguilera have tried to emulate her bravura performances, but none of them were as good as the original, music critic Paul Gambaccini told the BBC.

Houston also enjoyed success acting in blockbuster films such as The Bodyguard and Waiting to Exhale.

In recent years drug use took its toll on the star and her voice – once acknowledged as one of the finest in pop music – was badly damaged.

“She did have it all, but the record is there of the decline into drug use and the damage done from drug use,” said Gambaccini.

Her marriage to Brown, with whom she had a daughter, Bobbi Kristina, ended in divorce in 2007. The marriage had been a tempestuous one, with allegations of domestic abuse.

“The biggest devil is me. I’m either my best friend or my worst enemy,” Houston told ABC’s Diane Sawyer in a 2002 interview.

Correspondents say Houston’s death will undoubtedly overshadow the music industry’s Grammy Awards, due to be held in Los Angeles on Sunday.

She had been expected to attend the ceremony and her close friend and long-time mentor Clive Davis had recently hinted she might perform.

“It’s her favourite night of the year … who knows by the end of the evening,” he had told AP.

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35 COMMENTS

  1. Oh No

    In tears right now. Loved Whitney right from my teens always wished she’d get her act together. Hollywood is so fickle…everyone “liked” her when she was at the peak and she was abandoned when she needed help. Now watch all her so called hollywood “friends” come out of the wood work with nice words. Where were they when she was drugged out of her wits. R.I.P!

    Thanks

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  2. I STARTED DISLIKING HER DUE TO HER ABUSE OF DRUGS BUT BEFORE, SHE ALWAYS APPEARED 1ST ON MY POP STAR LIST. NEVER NEW IT COULD REACH THIS FAR. WILL MISS YOU JUST LIKE I MISS MICHAEL JACKSON. HEY YOU KEPT YOURSELF YOUNG. M.H.S.R.I.P

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  3. THIS IS THE FOOLISHNESS OF USING ILLICIT DRUGS, THEY WILL ALL BE DYING ONE BY ONE IN THE SAME WAY AT YOUNGER AGE. THESE POPULAR DRUG ADDICTS SHOULD NOT BE ADMIRED. I CAN NOT BUY MUSIC FROM ANY ILLICIT DRUG USER. HER DEATH SHOULD SERVE AS A LESSON TO THOSE WHO ARE IN A HABIT OF USING ILLICIT DRUGS

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  4. The people that posted here have made me calm I was sad. As Zambians pointing out the drugs has made me smile that we can use this to educate ourselves. Why did the evil Europeans have to take our brothers and sisters to all these lands and strip them of family hood. She could have been married to a great African man not that Bobby brown. Prayers for her family, and fans world wide. Let’s love her for her music, if she was saved she is with the Lord so let’s move on.

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    • Wonderful! We need to make Africa attractive and bring back our lost brothers and sisters. This will take a while …. but I’m sure our brothers and sisters also know where Africa is by now.

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  5. I dont understand why even a country as developed as the US with alot of anointed men of God can fail to help public figures who are known to be addicts such as Whitney. How about those social organisations we hear spending billions of dollars. It is very shameful for her to die in a hotel room as if it is a poor country. Mushota, I agree with you. You remind me of the song by Zambian Glorious Band. Ati Twali no ku mu promoter noku mutuma ku Chaina, chabipafye afwa na motoka ngatwalimupele  MHSRIP

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  6. Too bad. Such a beautiful woman, blessed with such prolific musical talent and a terrific voice allowed herself to be destroyed by bad company and drugs. She will be remembered for her wonderful music though… RIP Whitney Houston.

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  7. Great talent lost partly due to addiction to drugs and the then husband contributed to her down fall. Gone to soon

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  8. was just playing her latest CD in my car all of yesterday, what a pity. Thank God for my Zambian upbringing where parents of that day shielded us from the evils of the world. Even cigarrettes were considered an evil. MHSRIP. What a talent lost!

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  9. We will all die at some time. Just prepare your self to meet your maker. This thing of MHSRIP will not help.

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  10. Addiction is an illness. If you have people in your life abusing alcohol or drugs, dont shun them, support and help them. Fly Whitney, your pain is over.

    Rihanna may be next if she is not careful.

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  11. Why do they refer to drug addicts as superstars? I thought superstars are supposed to be good role models professionaly and otherwise.

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  12. I am saddened by Whitney Houston’s death. She was my No. 1 favourite female musician word over. She was my all time favourite female artist. She had a gift of that golden voice which brought us joy and happiness. Sad thing,though, that drug abuse took its toil, coupled with a tempestuous marriage with Bobby Brown which broke down irretrievably in 2007. I played my cd collection of her tracks, and the one which made me realise that maybe she knew that she would go and meet her Maker soon, is the song I Look To You. I encourage bloggers to check the rylics of this song, and you will see what I am talkng about. I will miss her. MHSRIEP.

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  13. People like kashimaini and taulino banda give me the feeling that there will be shocks when we crossover. you two chaps will be shocked to find whitney at the gates of heaven admitting people in while you will be in the line going to other side.ephraim sang enga mwali ba lesa enga twalifwa for you.

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  14. They should use her and Amy Winehouse in Anti-Drug related Promotions and Ads…how can anyone be shocked by this news, her parents did everything by the book to raise this woman even overprotected her but she chose this path….drugs kill stay well away from them!! 

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  15. Will always remember her powerful voice and her acting in the Body Guard movie.
    MHSRIP as we pray for her daughter.

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