Death of a Diva
Whitney Houston, who some refer to as the original Pop Diva, died of unknown causes on Saturday. She was 48.
Whitney Houston, a willowy church singer with a towering voice who became a titan of the pop charts in the 1980s and 1990s but then saw much of her success crumble away amid the fumes of addiction and reckless ego, has died. She was 48.
Kristen Foster, a publicist, announced Saturday that the singer had died, and police sources later confirmed that she was found unresponsive in her room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel about 3:30 p.m. Paramedics performed CPR on her, but she was pronounced dead about 4 p.m., Beverly Hills Police Lt. Mark Rosen told KTLA News. An investigation into the cause of death is pending.
On Thursday afternoon at the hotel, Houston drew the attention of reporters and security staff with her erratic behavior, dripping sweat and disheveled clothes. The singer was disruptive at that day's rehearsals for music mogul Clive Davis' annual Grammy industry party and showcase; that party at the Hilton on Saturday night was supposed to include a performance by Houston.
Late Saturday, Davis told those assembled at the party that he had a "heavy heart" and was "personally devastated" by Houston's death, but "simply put, Whitney would have wanted the music to go on, and her family has asked for us to carry on."
There is a moment in her song "I Will Always Love You" - the number one selling single of all time - when the music swells to a crescendo and changes key for the finale, that Ms. Houston's voice transcends the earth and is heard among the angels. It is an impossibly beautiful note - a note so profoundly true, a big, bold, brassy, ballsy manifestation of purity and perfection that it brings a reflexive lump to one's throat.
That is the Whitney Houston I choose to remember. Not the drug addled, alchohol ridden shadow who flitted across stages for the last decade half in and half out of consciousness. Do not blame Bobbi Brown as so many of her fans have done. Brown may have been an enabler, but it was Houston's own failures that was the cause of her downfall - and could very well have been the cause of her death.
The sublime Whitney Houston singing her signature song in the film "The Bodyguard."