Whitney Houston was pronounced dead at 3:55pm PST in a Beverly Hills hotel room Thursday after unsuccessful CPR by paramedics. She actress and singer was only 48 years old. Though the cause is unknown, Houston’s history with drug addiction leaves little room for speculation. The loss of Whitney Houston is a profound one for soul music, and for the industry as a whole.
With seven studio albums–all of which were certified platinum as a minimum–Houston’s contemporary spin on a timeless genre combined with her wide vocal range made her an icon in the music industry. From “I Will Always Love You” to “The Greatest Love of All” to her comeback hit “I Look to You,” Houston has been a force to be reckoned with in the music industry since her debut, self-titled album was released in 1985. By the turn of the 21st century, she had made a name for herself as a prolific singer-songwriter and had even started to make a name for herself in Hollywood, starring alongside Kevin Costner in the blockbuster hit, The Bodyguard.
From the year 2000 onward, the singer started on a very public downward spiral. Between her marriage to Bobby Brown and her own admitted drug use, the media flooded the world with stories on Houston’s increasingly gaunt appearance, missed interviews, cancelled performances and legal troubles. After divorcing Brown in 2006, Houston seemed to be on her way back to the top with the success of her comeback album, I Look to You along with a return to film (she starred in a movie called Sparkle, which is set to be released this August.) Houston was never able to recreate the success she had in the 80s, however.
Now, one of the 20th century’s most brilliant song-writers is gone, but her legacy will still remain.
Whitney Houston made an impromptu performance on the stage of a Grammys Party on Thursday. View the video of her final performance here.
Neil Portnow, president and CEO of the Recording Academy, released a statement on behalf of the Academy today saying, “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.”
Producers of the Grammy Awards are reportedly putting together a last minute tribute for tomorrow’s ceremony.