Highly acclaimed but troubled singer Whitney Houston was found dead in a Beverly Hills hotel room, sending shockwaves among her legions of fans and adding one more to the long list of recent sudden celebrity deaths.
Houston was found dead Saturday in the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. She was only 48. She had been into drugs and had checked into rehab a couple of times. The authorities have so far not revealed the cause of her death.
Mourning her death, Lady Gaga tweeted: “…This’s maybe a sign to people who struggling with drug addiction. Hopefully, it’d NOT take the life of another talent. Her voice that transcends all genres. A voice was a gift from Heaven & now it’s been taken back to where it came from.”
A gospel and pop singer, Houston had carved a niche for herself with her vibrant and often spectacular singing style.
Houston, who sold over 170 million albums, singles and videos worldwide, was born Aug 9, 1963, in Newark and embarked on her musical journey at the age of 11. The six-time Grammy award winner created a Guinness World Record by winning 415 honours in her career.
In her initial years, Houston sang in church.
Later, she performed with her mother at nightclubs. But her true calling came in 1985 with her debut album “Whitney Houston”.
In 1986, she won her first Grammy for the song “Saving All My Love for You”.
Thus begun her journey of musical heights and for a decade she ruled the music roost. She released her second album “Whitney” in 1987 and it was described as the first album by a woman to enter the Billboard charts at No.1, and it included four No.1 singles.
In her successful musical career, she also tried rhythm and blues for her third album “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” in 1990 and boasted of three more No.1 singles.
Her talent was such that her albums were million-sellers, and two have sold more than 10 million copies in the US alone — her 1985 debut album and the 1992 soundtrack “The Bodyguard,” which includes “I Will Always Love You”.
According to New York Times, from the start of her career she had the talent, looks and pedigree of a pop superstar. Her range spanned three octaves, and her voice was plush, vibrant and often spectacular. She could pour on the exuberant flourishes of gospel or peal a simple pop chorus; she could sing sweetly or unleash a sultry rasp.
Dressed in everything from formal gowns to T-shirts, she cultivated the image of a fun-loving but ardent good girl, the voice behind songs as perky as “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and as torchy as what became her signature song, a version of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You”, NYT said.
She didnt stop there. In the 1990s, she forayed into acting with films like “The Bodyguard” and “The Preacher’s Wife” and tied the knot with R&B singer Bobby Brown in 1992. If on one hand her career scaled new heights, this was also the time when she became a “heavy” user of marijuana and cocaine, which she revealed in an interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Her film career was equally successful and after making “Waiting To Exhale” in 1995 and “The Preacher’s Wife” in 1996, Houston returned to pop with “My Love Is Your Love” in 1998.
Meanwhile, she continued with drugs, which took a toll on her voice and by 2000s her voice became scratchier and her performances grew erratic, reports New York Times.
Also, her marriage to the singer Bobby Brown turned out to be the worst decision of her life — Houston told Winfrey that after initial passion died, it became a turbulent marriage, marred by drug use and by his professional jealousy, psychological abuse and physical confrontations.
It affected her singing and this was evident when her singles slipped from the top 10. Not only that, Houston became a favourite tabloid subject.
Houston and Brown had a daughter, Bobbi Kristina, in 1993 and after a 14 year turbulent relationship they divorced in 2007, but by that time the damage had been done.
Teen sensation Justin Bieber said: “My prayers go out to her family and friends. We will always love you. Remember that you are a true legend which the world has lost.”
Amy Winehouse, Michael Jackson and Heath Ledger are some of the talented artists who have died from drug-related causes.
Last year, Amy, who had a long and troubled relationship with drugs like cocaine, died of accidental alcohol poisoning July 23, while Michael Jackson succumbed to a fatal dose of potent drugs provided by his physician Conrad Murray in June 2009.
Earlier Heath Ledger had died from an accidental overdose of prescription medications including painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs and sleeping pills in February 2008.