Whitney Houston, who found fame as one of pop’s biggest voices, has died. She was 48.
Houston died Saturday afternoon, a representative for the singer told the Associated Press. Houston’s death comes on the eve of the Grammys and on the night of Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy gala, at which she performed last year and was expected to attend this year.
No cause of death has been announced and law enforcement sources said the singer was found in a hotel room at the Beverly Hilton, where emergency medical personnel were called sometime Saturday.
The Hilton is the scene for Davis’ annual gala. On Thursday, 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 her with a warm smile, she appeared disheveled in mismatched clothes and hair that was dripping wet with either sweat or water.
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.
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."
“She really loves and supports us both. For me, I went through a lot of very tumultuous moments and she would show up, not just with a phone call but physically when I needed,” Monica said when we asked about Houston coaching them. “That's something that I've carried with me, especially with all that she's been going through over the years herself. She's never turned her back on the people she cared about.”
Later that evening Houston appeared at Hollywood nightclub Tru, for fellow R&B singer Kelly Price’s pre-Grammy party. "Kelly Price & Friends Unplugged: For the Love of R&B" served as both a celebration and a jam session to preserve that genre, which was scaled back from eight categories to four this year.
Houston was billed as one of the evening’s special invited guests but after her appearance earlier it was shocking to see the singer arrive. More put together in her appearance, Houston briefly sang a duet with Price. In what has become her final performance, clips of the two singing a gospel hymn made the rounds because of the singer’s unsteady vocals.