Grammy winning, chart-topping singer Whitney Houston died Saturday afternoon, her rep confirmed to Us Weekly.
One of the most successful and award-winning female artists of all time, Houston was 48, and is survived by Bobbi Kristina, her 18-year-old daughter with ex-husband Bobby Brown to whom she was married from 1992 to 2007. Her body was found at the Beverly Hilton, where the “How Will I Know” singer had been staying.
UPDATE: Authorities confirmed that Houston was found unresponsive in her hotel room Saturday afternoon; paramedics performed CPR for about 20 minutes, and declared her dead at 3:55 p.m.
Her cause of death is still unknown. “Nothing obvious at this time,” Beverly Hills police Lt. Mark Rosen told reporters, according to the LA Times. “No signs of foul play.”
Houston had been in the area to perform at mentor Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammys party, which has now been canceled.
After Houston’s heyday in the late 1980s and early 1990s (including her hugely successful album The Bodyguard, the soundtrack from the film in which she starred), she famously struggled with drug addiction, and her world-famous voice became noticeably raspy on later recordings.
She entered an out-patient drug rehab program in May 2009 for drug and alcohol treatment, her rep confirmed at the time. The “I Will Always Love You” singer opened up to Diane Sawyer in a 2002 interview about her substance abuse problems, saying that she had used marijuana, cocaine and pills “at times” to get high.
In her extraordinary music career, Houston sold over 200 million albums worldwide, won six Grammy awards, two Emmy awards and more.
The superstar was born in Newark, NJ, the daughter of gospel singer Cissy Houston; she was discovered by famed music producer Clive Davis, her champion throughout her career, at an NYC nightclub.
Houston (who followed up her role in The Bodyguard with parts in The Preacher’s Wife and Waiting to Exhale) was set to star in a new film this year, Sparkle, a remake of a 1976 film loosely based on the Supremes.
The Recording Academy was among the first to release a statement after Houston’s death: “Six-time GRAMMY winner Whitney Houston was one of the world’s greatest pop singers of all time who leaves behind a robust musical soundtrack spanning the past three decades. Her powerful voice graced many memorable and award-winning songs. A light has been dimmed in our music community today, and we extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends, fans and all who have been touched by her beautiful voice.”
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