Whitney Houston, who ruled as pop music’s queen until her majestic voice and regal image were ravaged by drug use, erratic behavior and a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown, died Saturday. She was 48.
Beverly Hills police Lt. Mark Rosen told reporters outside the Beverly Hilton that Houston was pronounced dead at 3-55 p.m. in her room on the fourth floor of the hotel. Her body remained there and Beverly Hills detectives were investigating.
“There were no obvious signs of any criminal intent,” Rosen said.
Rosen said police received an emergency call from hotel security about Houston at 3-43 p.m. on Saturday. Paramedics who were already at the hotel because of a Grammy party unsuccessfully tried to resuscitate the singer, he said.
Producer Jimmy Jam, who had worked with Houston, said he anticipated the evening would become a tribute to her, and he expected there to be one at the Grammys as well.
Two days ago, she performed at a pre-Grammy party with singer Kelly Price.
The Rev. Al Sharpton said he would call for a national prayer on Sunday morning during a service at Second Baptist Church in Los Angeles.
“The morning of the Grammys, the world should pause and pray for the memory of a gifted songbird,” Sharpton said in a written statement.
In a statement, Recording Academy President and CEO Neil Portnow said Houston “was one of the world’s greatest pop singers of all time who leaves behind a robust musical soundtrack spanning the past three decades.”
“Her powerful voice graced many memorable and award-winning songs,” Portnow said. “A light has been dimmed in our music community today, and we extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends, fans and all who have been touched by her beautiful voice.”
At her peak, Houston was the golden girl of the music industry. From the middle 1980s to the late 1990s, she was one of the world’s best-selling artists. She wowed audiences with effortless, powerful, and peerless vocals that were rooted in the black church but made palatable to the masses with a pop sheen.
She had the perfect voice and the perfect image.
She influenced a generation of younger singers, from Christina Aguilera to Mariah Carey, who when she first came out sounded so much like Houston that many thought it was Houston. Continue Reading…