[Updated at 9:08 p.m. PT on 2-11-12 to include link and reportage from Los Angeles Times story of Houston’s erratic behavior earlier this week and to include information on “Dateline” tribute.]
“Whitney Houston, who ruled as pop music’s queen until her majestic voice and regal image were ravaged by drug use, erratic behavior and a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown, has died,” reports the Associated Press.
She was 48.
The AP added, “Houston’s publicist, Kristen Foster, said Saturday [Feb. 11, 2012] that the singer had died, but the cause and the location of her death were unknown.”
However, TMZ reported “Paramedics were called to the Beverly Hilton [Hotel in Beverly Hills] today when Houston was found unresponsive in her hotel room … sources tell TMZ. We’re told police arrived [at] the scene within minutes and [the fire department] was already there on another call. According to our sources, paramedics performed CPR but it did not work and she was pronounced dead at 3:55 PM [PT]. Our sources say there were no signs of foul play. We’re told she was ID’ed by family and friends.”
In a story published tonight, Feb. 11, 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported: “The Hilton is the scene for [music mogul Clive] Davis’ annual [pre-Grammys] gala. On Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012] Houston dropped by the rehearsals to offer vocal tips for Brandy and Monica, who were slated to be one of the evening’s headliners.
“Press, including The Times, were in attendance for a junket with the reunited R&B divas and Davis. Though Houston greeted people with a warm smile, she appeared disheveled in mismatched clothes and hair that was dripping wet with either sweat or water. [The Grammys Awards telecast itself is scheduled for Sunday, Feb, 12, 2012 on CBS.]
“The visibly bloated singer displayed erratic behavior throughout the afternoon — flailing her hands frenetically as she spoke to Brandy and Monica, skipping around the ballroom in a child-like fashion and wandering aimlessly about the lobby. It was mentioned by a Grammy staffer that security personnel received calls of the singer doing handstands by the pool.”
The L.A. Times story continued, “After leaving rehearsals, Houston returned to the ballroom — with her teenage daughter Bobbi Kristina in tow — as camera crews set up for interviews. The singer smelled of alcohol and cigarettes. A Grammy staffer said that during the interviews with Brandy, Monica and Clive, Houston was dancing just off camera to make the singers and Davis laugh. Grammy personnel expressed concern that she’d be caught on camera, and that reporters would write about her behavior. Finally her daughter pulled Houston out of the room, and the singer skipped off. In our post of the event, we called Houston’s behavior ‘loose and lively.’ “
NBC’s “Dateline” will look at Houston’s life in a program scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012, at 7 p.m. ET. The announcement about the show from NBC News said, “In a ‘Dateline’ special airing on Sunday, February 12, at 7p/6c, the newsmagazine will look at the life of the legendary singer, actress and producer. … Anchored by Lester Holt, the hour will report on Houston’s life and career and the reaction from those who knew her.”
The TMZ story added that Houston, who was an Emmy winner, also had won “six Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards during her record-breaking career. Her album ‘Whitney’ was the first female album to ever debut at #1 on the Billboard Charts. She has sold 200 million albums worldwide.”
Said the AP report, “At her peak, Houston was the golden girl of the music industry. From the middle 1980s to the late 1990s, she was one of the world’s best-selling artists. She wowed audiences with effortless, powerful and peerless vocals that were rooted in the black church but made palatable to the masses with a pop sheen….
“She had the perfect voice and the perfect image: a gorgeous singer who had sex appeal but was never overtly sexual, who maintained perfect poise. She influenced a generation of younger singers, from Christina Aguilera to Mariah Carey, who when she first came out sounded so much like Houston that many thought it was Houston.”