Saturday, February 11, 2012

Whitney Houston, singer, dead at 48

In news that has utterly shocked the music world to its core, legendary pop singer Whitney Houston was found dead in a hotel room in Beverly Hills Saturday afternoon. She was 48.

According to CNN, paramedics were called to the scene at 3:43 p.m. after a hair stylist and bodyguard discovered her unconscious body. They were unable to revive her. She was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m.

Her cause of death is currently under investigation.

Houston was supposed to attend her longtime mentor's, Clive Davis', annual pre-Grammy bash at the hotel, the Beverly Hilton, that evening. Jennifer Hudson, who once called Houston one of her inspirations, is set to pay tribute to the late star at the Grammy Awards Sunday.  

Fans and stars alike have immensely reacted to the news. Mariah Carey, who once worked with Houston, tweeted: "Heartbroken and in tears over the shocking death of my friend, the incomparable Ms. Whitney Houston. My heartfelt condolences to Whitney's family and to all her millions of fans throughout the world. She will never be forgotten as one of the greatest voices to ever grace the earth." Simon Cowell, in an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan, said this of the late star: "You’re going to remember where you were when you heard the news. It’s that significant. ...She was one of the greatest superstars of all time, one of the greatest voices in our life time we’re likely ever to hear. To hear this news, it really, really, really upset me. It really has."

Houston rose to prominence in the mid-1980s after being discovered by Davis at a club and was signed on the spot. Some of her most memorable hits include "I Will Always Love You," "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" and "I'm Your Baby Tonight." She also starred in hit films including The Bodyguard, Waiting to Exhale and The Preacher's Wife. Houston also unforgettably played The Fairy Godmother, starring opposite Brandy Norwood in the made-for-television movie, Roger and Hammerstein's Cinderella.

Houston recently wrapped production on the remake of the 1976 film Sparkle. It is due for release in August.

She is survived by her daughter, Bobbi Kristina, whom she had with her ex-husband, Bobby Brown.

UPDATE #1: According to E! Online, Houston and Brown's daughter, Bobbi Kristina, was rushed to the hospital Sunday morning after suffering a panic attack. The Beverly Hills Police Department, who responded to the call from the Beverly Hilton hotel, would not confirm whether it was Bobbi Kristina whom was transported to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. She was treated for stress-related issues and was said to be immediately "unconsolable" following the news of her mother's death.

UPDATE #2: It has been confirmed by multiple outlets, including TMZ and The LA Times, that Houston was discovered unconscious in a bathtub in her hotel room in Beverly Hills Saturday, Feb. 11. In another report by TMZ, it was confirmed that an autopsy was performed Sunday, Feb. 12, and that her family was given permission to take the body and prepare for funeral arrangements.

UPDATE #3: According to CNN and an official report from the LA County coroner's office, Whitney Houston's cause of death was an "accidental drowning" and that heart disease and cocaine were factors. The coroner explained in a phone call with CNN's Don Lemon that Houston took cocaine, had a "cardiac event"--most likely a heart attack--after taking it (triggered by previous heart disease issues due to previous long-term cocaine use), was in the bathtub at the time and drowned in the bathtub due to being weakened by the cardiac event and not being able to right herself after falling in. According to the same reports, cocaine and other drugs--including marijuana, the anti-anxiety drug Xanax, the muscle relaxant Flexeril and the allergy medicine Benadryl--were also found in Houston's system, but only cocaine directly contributed to her death.

SIDE NOTE: The story is developing. More information will be posted as soon as it is available.

Photo via Indie Wire

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