Whitney Houston, a multiplatinum pop/R&B singer who ruled the charts for decades beginning in the mid-1980s, has died, her publicist Kristen Foster confirmed to MTV News on Saturday (February 11). Houston was 48.
According to CNN, Beverly Hills Police confirmed the singer was found dead inside a Beverly Hilton hotel room at approximately 3:55 p.m. PT. The cause of death is being investigated.
Houston had recently staged a comeback in 2009, after a tumultuous divorce from singer Bobby Brown in 2006 after 14 years of marriage. The ex-couple have a daughter together, Bobbi Kristina. Brown and Houston battled substance abuse issues throughout their marriage, and their travails were well-publicized. But in recent years, Houston had made attempts to revive her once thriving music career only to find that her show-stopping voice had gathered some rust.
At her height, Houston was the music industry’s reigning diva, releasing chart-topping albums well into the late 1990s, and earning her place as one of the best-selling artists in the world. Her unparalleled voice and All-American beauty propelled her onto the silver screen as well, with roles in the “The Bodyguard” and “Waiting to Exhale.” The soundtrack for the former film yielded a string of hit singles and broke myriad chart records as well.
Houston, the daughter of gospel singer Cissy Houston and the late John Houston, was discovered by Arista Records honcho Clive Davis in the early-1980s and he would go on to guide her career to the tune of 170 million albums, singles and videos sold. The iconic singer’s hit songs — from “The Greatest Love of All” to “I Will Always Love You” — are now radio staples and firmly entrenched in the pop music canon.
Her influence can be heard on a generation of young singers who cite her as an inspiration, from Mariah Carey, Brandy and Monica to Christina Aguilera and Beyonce.
But Houston was dogged by her demons. In a 2009 interview with Oprah Winfrey she detailed the years of addiction and the toll they had taken on her personal and professional lives.
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