Whitney Houston dead at 48
Whitney Houston, 48, has been pronounced dead in her room at the Beverley Hilton hotel in Los Angeles, where she was staying in preparation for a rumoured performance at the Grammy Awards this evening. Best known for songs such as ‘I Will Always Love You’ (written by Dolly Parton) and the Klute classic ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’, Houston’s voice was widely heralded as one of the greatest in popular music history.
With Aretha Franklin as her godmother and Dionne Warwick as her cousin, Houston grew up influenced by gospel and soul music. Her legacy inspired a range of aspiring female vocalists such as Rihanna and Mariah Carey, both of whom have expressed their devastation at the news, with the former tweeting ‘no words, just tears’.
Back in 2002, Whitney Houston confided to ABC news that her ‘biggest devil’ was herself, proclaiming ‘I’m either my best friend or my worst enemy’. She had publicly struggled with drug and alcohol abuse for years, along with a turbulent marriage to singer Bobby Brown who reportedly committed domestic violence against her. Shocking photographs of Houston’s ‘drug den’ emerged in 2009, depicting a bathroom strewn with crack pipes, cigarettes and spoons used for cooking cocaine. Staff at the Beverley Hilton have reported that Houston, who divorced from Brown in 2007, had been engaging in rowdy partying at the bar only hours before her bodyguard found her unresponsive in her room.
Having won six Grammys herself over the course of her career, it is expected that proceedings for tonight’s show will be altered to offer a tribute to the singer whose voice, in the words of Lionel Richie, ‘could just turn a story, a melody into magical notes.’
Photograph: Rick Diamond/Wire Image