Whitney Houston, one of the music industry’s most influential names and voices, was found dead yesterday in her LA hotel room.
The 48-year-old star, who has in the past faced problems with drug addiction, was pronounced dead at 3.55pm local time, after paramedics could not resuscitate her in her Beverly Hilton hotel room. The cause of her death has not yet been confirmed, although police have stated that there are no “obvious signs” of any criminal intent.
Houston was scheduled to perform at a pre-Grammys party in anticipation of tonight’s awards ceremony, and had been in rehearsals for the show. News of her death has sparked outpourings of emotional tributes from the music industry, with her godmother Aretha Franklin writing on Twitter, “I just can’t talk about it now, It’s so stunning and unbelievable. I couldn’t believe what I was reading coming across the TV screen. My heart goes out to Cissy, her daughter Bobby Kris, her family and Bobby.”
Mariah Carey has also tweeted that she is “heartbroken and in tears over the shocking death of my friend, the incomparable Ms. Whitney Houston”, and a statement released by Dolly Parton says “I will always be grateful and in awe of the wonderful performance she did on my song and I can truly say from the bottom of my heart, “Whitney, I will always love you. You will be missed.”
This poignant tribute in the New Yorker speaks of “the grief you feel for someone you didn’t really know but are unable to pretend you weren’t tied to”, which seems an apt way of describing the vacuum left behind by the death of a irreplaceable talent like Whitney Houston. Our thoughts are with her family and friends during this difficult time.