American singer and actress Whitney Houston has died in Los Angeles at the age of 48. Police said she died in her room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, where she had been staying as a guest. The singer was reportedly found in the bathtub, TMZ reports, leading to speculation she might have drowned. No illegal drugs have been found in the room, but prescription drugs have been.
Houston died on the eve of the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. The Grammys were to honor the memory of Whitney Houston on Sunday night. She had been due to attend a pre-awards party in the Beverly Hilton Hotel organised by her long-time mentor and record industry executive Clive Davis on Saturday evening. Police were despatched, but paramedics, already at the hotel because of the party, attempted to resuscitate her, without success. She was pronounced dead at 15:55. Beverly Hills police spokesman Mark Rosen said to BBC Houston’s entourage – comprising family members, friends and co-workers – had taken over much of the fourth floor of the hotel. He said police investigators were at the scene trying to determine the cause of her death, but said there were “no obvious signs of criminal intent”. Davis went ahead with the party, holding a minute’s silence and telling the audience he was “personally devastated by the loss of someone who has meant so much to me for so many years”. The US celebrity website TMZ.com reported that Ms Houston had been partying heavily on both Thursday and Friday nights. She briefly took the microphone and performed a song while out in Hollywood on Thursday, and was seen drinking and chatting loudly with friends in the hotel bar on Friday, according to TMZ. Houston’s background was steeped in soul and gospel music. Her mother was gospel singer Cissy Houston, she was cousin to singer Dionne Warwick and goddaughter to Aretha Franklin. At the height of her career in the 1980s and 90s she won many awards and enjoyed several number one singles and albums. Houston also enjoyed success acting in blockbuster films such as The Bodyguard and Waiting to Exhale. Her marriage to Brown, with whom she had a daughter, Bobbi Kristina, ended in divorce in 2007. The marriage had been a tempestuous one, with allegations of domestic abuse.