She was happy in days before death

Whitney Houston’s last days were spent surrounded by family, catching up with old friends and doing a bit of what she was best known for: singing.

Her death came hours before she was scheduled to appear at an annual pre-Grammy party that introduced her to the industry decades ago and was expected to honor the six-time Grammy winner.

The 48-year-old singer had been making the rounds in the days before the event, appearing at rehearsals and offering advice to singers Monica and Brandy. On Thursday, she appeared with fellow singer Kelly Price on stage at a Hollywood club, where she sang the hymn “Yes, Jesus Loves Me” to loud cheers.

With Houston’s daughter Bobbi in the audience, the women shared a long hug and talked about their lives and families throughout the night, Price recalled on Saturday. Houston spent hours standing on the side of the stage at the event honoring R&B music then joined partygoers on the dance floor, she said. “Whitney on Thursday night was one of the girls.”

“She was happy,” Price said. “She was the Whitney I always knew.”
Soul singer Kenny Lattimore, who co-hosted the R&B event, said Houston seemed to be having a good time, making her sudden death “such a shock for me.” He said Houston didn’t appear to be having any issues.

Houston struggled for years with addiction to cocaine, marijuana and pills and the years of hard-living took a toll on her once-pristine voice. During rehearsal for a pre-Grammy event Thursday, Houston appeared disheveled, sweated profusely and her breath smelled of liquor and cigarettes, said a source who was present but not authorised to speak publicly.

Comeback plans

Despite more than a decade of problems, including her divorce from Bobby Brown and numerous instances of erratic behaviour, Houston was working towards a potential comeback. She had just completed work on a remake of the film Sparkle, a project she’d worked to develop for years.

Yet some speculated that she was under the influence after the Thursday club appearance, when paparazzi snapped photos of Houston leaving and looking disheveled. Price called the rumours “totally untrue.”

There was a family feel to the gathering, she said: “Our kids were there.” Price said she and Houston were planning another reunion, and that she was set to appear at the pre-Grammy gala thrown by her longtime mentor, Clive Davis.

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