Grammy Award-winning singer and actress Whitney Houston died at the age of 48 in a Los Angeles hotel room, setting off an avalanche of tributes. Police say she was pronounced dead late Saturday afternoon in her fourth floor room of the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Investigators say an attempt was made to resuscitate Houston after emergency personnel rushed to her room. Police say the cause of her death has not been determined. Houston's death comes on the eve of the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, where the six-time Grammy winner had gathered with hundreds of artists for Sunday's program. The executive producer of the Grammys, Ken Ehrlich, announced that Grammy award winning singer Jennifer Hudson will pay tribute to Houston during Sunday's broadcast. Houston sold over 170 million albums and singles, making her one of the world's best-selling artists. Her self-titled debut album, released in 1985, sold 25 million copies worldwide. Her talent took her from music to movies, where she starred in hits like The Bodyguard and Waiting to Exhale. She was married to singer Bobby Brown from 1992 to 2007. They have a daughter.
Whitney Houston's musical prowess was not fluke. She was inspired by a host of singers, including her mother Cissy Houston, cousin Dionne Warwick, and Houston's godmother Aretha Franklin, who expressed shock at Whitney Houston's death. Whitney left her immutable mark on a generation of music lovers and singers, and she will always be recognized as one of the most talented artists to leave their mark on the world. Her tragic death will no doubt bring many tributes over the next year, but it’s impossible to imagine anyone filling the void she leaves behind.
It’s hard for a lot of us— to understand just how successful Whitney Houston was, in every conceivable way, at her early peak. Sports and pop culture writer Bill Simmons once summed it up thusly: "Young Whitney was like LeBron [James] crossed with Tiger [Woods]. Actually, you can't even compare her to anything. Let's say you rated a young female singer from 1 to 50 in five categories: likability, attractiveness, singing voice, pedigree and stage presence. Young Whitney was a 50 in all of them." By age 25, she’d had seven #1 hits and released two albums that went on to sell over 20 million copies combined in the US— and she hadn’t even had her biggest success yet. She seemed destined to go down as one of the immortals, one of the greatest, most beloved pop performers in the history of recorded music... the path was there.
Few could ever deny that the greatness of her peak still ranks her as one of the most important solo performers of the last 40 years of popular music, her musical catalogue providing us with countless pop classics and her voice—that soaring, supernaturally powerful voice, which defined all the greatest aspects of divadom for so many music listeners— touching the hearts and lives of millions and millions of fans, including such sworn Whitney devotees as Beyoncé, Alicia Keys and Lady Gaga.
All of us here at UPBEAT Entertainment News Syndicate are deeply saddened by the passing of Whitney Houston. The details of her death are insignificant. What matters more than anything is what she gave each of us with her presence, her voice and the numerous memories that each of her songs resonates within. Our deepest sympathies go out to her family and friends and so many who loved her. I can personally recall the first time I heard the song "I Wanna Dance with Somebody"... it was uplifting, fun and it even had meaning... because, let's face it... not only do you want to dance with somebody... but somebody who loves you.