Whitney Houston, arguably the greatest voice of our generation, has died at age 48.
According to the Los Angeles Times, The Beverly Hills Fire Department was called to the hotel at about 3:30 p.m. and Houston was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m.
Rumors spread across social media outlets that singer Ray-J was present with Whitney when the authorities were called, but his publicist later denied those claims.
Whitney was in Los Angeles for mentor Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy Awards party, and had performed at Kelly Price’s pre-Grammy party just two nights ago.
Whitney Houston achieved iconic status almost immediately after her introduction onto the scene, becoming the first female ever to have a debut album bow at number one on the Billboard charts. She continued to dominate the 80s pop music scene with hits like “So Emotional” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” and R&B grooves such as “You Give Good Love” and “I Believe in You and Me.”
Perhaps her most significant achievement in her 20+ year career was her critically-acclaimed performance in “The Bodyguard” and its corresponding soundtrack, which spawned Houston’s most famous song, “I Will Always Love You.” Houston appeared in several more films over the course of her career, including “Waiting to Exhale” and “The Preacher’s Wife,” and was the executive producer of Disney’s “The Princess Diaries” franchise.
Unfortunately, Houston’s accomplishments and goosebump-inducing vocals were overshadowed by her tumultuous marriage to former New Edition singer Bobby Brown. During the time, allegations of drug and domestic abuse plagued their relationship, peaking in 2002 with her disturbing interview with Diane Sawyer, where she re-coined the phrase “crack is whack.” Houston eventually divorced Brown in 2007 and checked herself into rehab, offering friends and fans around the world a glimmer of hope that the troubled singer was on the road to recovery.
Houston released her seventh – and what would be her last – studio album in 2009, with “I Look To You.” Scoring moderate hits with “Million Dollar Bill” and the inspirational title track, Whitney appeared to be reclaiming her throne. Whitney recently expressed her excitement in anticipation of shooting the follow-up to “Waiting to Exhale,” and just weeks ago wrapped shooting the remake of the late 70s girl group movie, “Sparkle.”
We will always love you, Whitney. Rest in peace.