By Nadine Antoine (Email Nadine at: email@example.com)
SC Staff Writer
The legendary Whitney Houston passed away February 11 at the age of 48. The singer was in Beverly Hills, California for the 54th Grammy Awards festivities when she was found unconscious in her hotel room at the Beverly Hilton. While there are many speculations as to her cause of death, toxicology tests results have not yet been completed. The tragic news turned this celebratory weekend to one of remembrance when celebrities soon gathered at the very hotel Houston died in for the annual pre-Grammy award party hosted by Houston’s longtime mentor Clive Davis. As many began to hear the news, Davis took the stage to speak to all those in attendance.
“By now, sadly, you’ve all learned of the unspeakably tragic news of our beloved Whitney’s passing. I don’t have to mask my emotions, not in front of this room full of so many dear friends.” He spoke. “I do have a very heavy heart, and I am personally devastated by the loss of someone who has meant so much to me after so many years.”
As her death made headlines Saturday evening, many were expecting the Grammys to provide some form of a tribute to the six-time winner (including an award for Album of the Year in 1994 for The Bodyguard Soundtrack). Singer Jennifer Hudson, who has been quoted naming Houston as her inspiration, was chosen and gave the audience an emotional performance of one of Houston’s classics “I Will Always Love You”.
Even at the height of her career with critically acclaimed performances such as “The Star Spangled Banner” at Super Bowl XXV, Houston still succumbed to an addiction to drugs. In interviews with Diane Sawyer and Oprah Winfrey, she opened up and spoke about her battles with substance abuse and struggles within her marriage. Houston most recently was released from rehab in May of last year.
On February 18, CNN and BET showed a live feed of inside New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey, where Houston’s four-hour funeral service was held. Her ‘home-going’ included singers such as Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, R. Kelly and BeBe and CeCe Winans who performed many of Houston’s favorites as well as family and friends who shared intimate stories remembering the late great icon.
With a solid music career selling 170 million albums and singles, Houston also ventured into movies and performed in such films like The Bodyguard with Kevin Costner, Waiting to Exhale with Angela Bassett, The Preacher’s Wife with Denzel Washington and Cinderella with singer Brandy. She also recently finished filming the remake of Sparkle with singer Jordin Sparks that is scheduled to be in theatres this summer.
The Guinness World Records cited Whitney Houston as the most awarded female act of all time, a total of 415 career awards as of 2010. Houston was once married to singer Bobby Brown. The two had a daughter, Houston’s only child, Bobbi Kristina, in 1993.