Whitney Houston, who ruled as pop music’s queen with a majestic voice and regal image, died Saturday.She was 48. Houston will be remembered for both her wistful, romantic ballads and her power-pop tunes, as well as a stunning performances. 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. A coroner’s van left the hotel with Houston’s body in the early hours of Sunday, NBC News reported. “There were no obvious signs of any criminal intent,” Rosen said. Houston’s publicist, Kristen Foster, said the cause of death was unknown. Rosen said police received a 911 call from hotel security about Houston at 3:43 p.m. Saturday. Paramedics who were already at the hotel because of a Grammy party, unsuccessfully tried to resuscitate the singer, he said. TMZ.com reported that Houston’s body was found in the hotel room’s bathtub, but by the time emergency services arrived she had been removed so it would take an autopsy to determine the cause of death.TMZ also reported that there was no evidence that Houston had been drinking alcohol in the room,although various pill bottles had been discovered.
Her list of awards includes two Emmy Awards, six Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards, among a total of 415 career awards as of 2010. Houston was also one of the world’s best-selling music artists, having sold over 170 million albums, singles and videos worldwide. Inspired by prominent soul singers in her family, including her mother Cissy Houston, cousins Dionne Warwick and Dee Dee Warwick, and her godmother Aretha Franklin, Houston began singing with New Jersey church’s junior gospel choir at age 11. After she began performing alongside her mother in night clubs in the New York City area, she was discovered by Arista Records label head Clive Davis. Houston released seven studio albums and three movie soundtrack albums, all of which have diamond, multi-platinum, platinum or gold certification.
Houston was the only artist to chart seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits (“Saving All My Love for You”, “How Will I Know”, “Greatest Love of All”, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)”, “Didn’t We Almost Have It All”, “So Emotional” and “Where Do Broken Hearts Go”). She was the second artist behind Elton John and the only female artist to have two number-one Top Billboard 200 Album awards (formerly “Top Pop Album”) on the Billboard magazine year-end charts. Houston’s 1985 debut album Whitney Houston, became the best-selling debut album by a female act at the time of its release. The album was named Rolling Stone‘s best album of1986, and was ranked at number 254 on Rolling Stone‘s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Her second studio album Whitney (1987), became the first album by a female artist to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Houston’s crossover appeal on the popular music charts as well as her prominence on MTV, starting with her video for “How Will I Know”, influenced several African-American female artists to follow in her footsteps.
Houston’s first acting role was as the star of the feature film The Bodyguard (1992). The film’s original soundtrack won the 1994 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Its lead single “I Will Always Love You”, became the best-selling single by a female artist in music history. With the album, Houston became the first act (solo or group, male or female) to sell more than a million copies of an album within a single week period.
The album makes her the only female act in the top 10 list of the best-selling albums of all time, at number four. Houston continued to star in movies and contribute to their soundtracks, including the films Waiting to Exhale (1995) and The Preacher’s Wife (1996). The Preacher’s Wife soundtrack became the best-selling gospel album in history.
With America entangled in the Persian Gulf War, Houston performed “The Star Spangled Banner” at Super Bowl XXV on January 27, 1991. Due to overwhelming response to her rendition, it was released as a commercial single and video of her performance, and reached the Top 20 on the US Hot 100, making her the only act to turn the national anthem into a pop hit of that magnitude. Unforgettable, it ranked No. 1 on the 25 most memorable music moments in NFL history list. VH1 listed the performance as one of the greatest moments that rocked TV.
Throughout the 1980s, Houston was romantically linked to American football star Randall Cunningham and actor Eddie Murphy, whom she dated. She then met R&B singer Bobby Brown at the 1989 Soul Train Music Awards. After a three year courtship, the two were married on July 18, 1992. Nearly a year later, Houston gave birth to their daughter Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown, her first and only child, his fourth. Brown would go on to have several run-ins with the law, including some jail time. After years of controversy and turmoil, Houston separated from Bobby Brown in September 2006, filing for divorce the next month.
Houston’s end came on the eve of music’s biggest night — the Grammy Awards. It’s a showcase where she once reigned, and her death was sure to cast a heavy pall on Sunday’s ceremony. A Grammy’s tribute to her is being quickly planned, with Jennifer Hudson leading the show, Access Hollywood reported.