“Queen of Pop” Whitney Houston dead at age 48

LOS ANGELES [PeterPaul.ca] — Whitney Houston, who once stood where no other female singer stood before but was later haunted by drug use, questionable behavior and a failed, 15-year marriage to singer Bobby Brown, died Saturday after being found unresponsive at a Beverly Hills hotel, officials said. She was to perform at a pre-Grammy gala later in the evening at the same hotel where she died.

“At approximately 3:43 p.m. the Beverly Hills Police Department received a 911 call to respond to the Beverly Hilton hotel regarding a medical emergency,” said a statement issued Saturday by Beverly Hills police.

“At 3:55 p.m. this afternoon [Saturday] Whitney Houston was pronounced dead at the Beverly Hilton Hotel,” Beverly Hills police detective Lt. Mark Rosen told reporters during a brief statement. “She has been positively identified by friends, family and co-workers that were with her at the hotel.”

Houston’s family released the following statement after the announcement of her death: “We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Whitney. This is an unimaginable tragedy and we will miss her terribly. We appreciate the outpouring of love and support from her fans and friends.”

Houston’s autopsy was completed Sunday but the results will not be released for at least another week pending toxicology reports. Officials said there were no signs of foul play and that investigators were working on a search warrant for the hotel room, located on the fourth floor of the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

A Twitter profile created in Whitney Houston’s honour had over 100,000 followers as of Sunday. On Google, “Whitney Houston news” and “Whitney Houston cause of death” were the most popular search terms since the singer’s death.

Known for her silky smooth voice and recent troubles with drugs, her life is surely to be remembered for the music she created and racial barriers broken and not the personal problems that plagued her since she divorced singer Bobby Brown in 2007.

Brown, who went ahead with a planned Saturday performance shortly after news of Houston’s death, appeared distraught later asking audience members to pray for him and his family. His band, New Edition, was scheduled to perform in Mississippi on Sunday without Brown.

Bobbi Kristina, 18, the only child of Houston and Brown, was released from hospital on Sunday after being admitted for stress-related issues. Unconfirmed reports said Kristina suffered a complete nervous breakdown. She had been denied access to see her mother’s remains when she arrived at the Beverly Hilton hotel on Saturday. Other visitors were also denied access.

Houston’s record-breaking career peaked from the middle 1980s to the middle 1990s resulting in two Emmy Awards, six Grammy Awards, 22 American Music Awards and 30 Billboard Music Awards. She later starred in “The Bodyguard” and “Waiting to Exhale” during her big screen career.

In her final years, Houston admitted to abusing marijuana, cocaine and pills. Her once unforgettable voice became hoarse and faded. “The biggest devil is me. I’m either my best friend or my worst enemy,” she told ABC’s Diane Sawyer in a 2002 interview.

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