Whitney Houston, 48, dies on Grammys eve

Whitney Houston, 48, dies on Grammys eve

Legendary singer-actress Whitney Houston, the most awarded female act of all time and a heart throb of the 80's with soulful songs like 'I Will Always Love You', was found dead at a hotel here on the eve of music industry's biggest night.

The 48-year-old, whose once sparkling career was torn apart by drug abuse and personal problems, was found dead at the Beverly Hilton hours before her scheduled appearance at a pre-Grammys dinner.

She was pronounced dead at 3:55 pm (local time Saturday) at the hotel despite resuscitation efforts, a police spokesman said.

Beverly Hills Police Lt Mark Rosen said there were "no obvious signs of criminal intent" and that the cause of her death is being investigated.

Her representative Kristen Foster said that the singer had died, but the cause of death was not immediately known.

Paramedics who were already at the hotel due to the Grammys failed to revive her.

The daughter of gospel singer Cissy Houston and the cousin of Dionne Warwick, Houston was on the verge of a film and music comeback after a decade spent battling drug issues and bad press as her marriage to Bobby Brown crumbled. The couple divorced in 2007.

Houston was among the world's biggest stars and most famous voices at the height of her career in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when she scored hit after hit with songs like 'How Will I Know', 'The Greatest Love of All', 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody' and 'Saving All My Love For You'.

She also hit the top of the world's pop charts with her rendition of Dolly Parton's 'I Will Always Love You' from the soundtrack to blockbuster movie "The Bodyguard", in which she starred alongside Kevin Costner.

She was one of the top-selling artistes in the industry, with more than 55 million records sold in the US alone.

Houston was born on August 9, 1963, in Newark, New Jersey. She began singing in church and then in the night clubs of New York where famed music producer Clive Davis spotted her after 20 years, signing her on the spot.

She was a model before being signed by Arista Records. Her debut album in 1985, 'Whitney Houston', became the best-selling debut album by a female act at the time of its release.

'Saving All My Love for You' brought her her first Grammy for best female pop vocal. 'How Will I Know', 'You Give Good Love' and 'The Greatest Love of All' also became hit singles.

Later Houston started to become better known for her erratic behaviour as drug abuse stories swirled around her and Brown. She eventually confessed to abusing cocaine, marijuana and other drugs and twice checked into rehab.

A multiple Grammy winner, she also found success on the big screen in films like 'Waiting to Exhale' and 'The Preacher's Wife'.

Houston was working on a new film, titled 'Sparkle', with Jordin Sparks at the time of her death. It is believed her scenes were completed.

"She has that voice that could just turn a story, a melody into magical notes," said singer Lionel Richie, a contemporary of Houston.

"She was a legend. These people don't come around often. No one could sell a song like Whitney," TV mogul Simon Cowell said, adding that she was a trailblazer who proved that a female artist could dominate the pop market.

With a powerful voice and a dazzling range, Houston achieved stardom as a pop-soul singer known as "the Voice" and the "Queen of Pop".

Her albums include 'Whitney Houston' (1985), 'Whitney' (1987), 'I'm Your Baby Tonight' (1990), 'My Love Is Your Love' (1998), 'Just Whitney' (2002), 'One Wish: The Holiday Album' (2003).

After several years out of the spotlight, she returned to the recording studio to make her last album, 'I Look to You,' released in 2009.

Pop stars Katy Perry, Rihanna, Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera took to Twitter to share their grief and shock over Houston's death.

Carey, whose 'When You Believe' duet with Houston appeared in the 1998 DreamWorks animated film 'The Prince of Egypt', is "heartbroken" over her friend's passing.

"Heartbroken and in tears over the shocking death of my friend, the incomparable Whitney Houston. She will never be forgotten as one of the greatest voices to ever grace the earth," Carey said.

Perry wrote, "We will always love you Whitney, RIP."

"We have lost another legend. Love and prayers to Whitney's family. She will be missed," Aguilera wrote on Twitter.

And Rihanna wrote, "No words! Just tears #DearWhitney (sic)."

The tragic news also had a devastating effect on her ex husband Bobby Brown and her on-off boyfriend Ray J.

Insiders close to Brown said that he was "in and out of crying fits" upon hearing the news on Saturday, prior to a New Edition reunion concert in Mississippi.

Meanwhile, a source close to Ray J, who was reportedly dating Houston at the time of her death said that he is "distraught and tripping".

A tribute to her, by singer-actress Jennifer Hudson, will be paid at the Grammy awards gala tonight where Houston was supposed to appear. 

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