JAKARTA - On February 11, 2012, American soul singer and actress Whitney Houston was found dead in a bathtub in a Beverly Hills Hilton hotel room. She died just before the Grammy Awards held. It was confirmed that Houston drowned accidentally. But heart disease and cocaine use are the contributing factors.
Cited from The Guardian, Thursday, February 11, Houston died hours before she appeared at the pre-Grammy party that was held at the Beverly Hilton. Houston was one of the best-selling artists in the world at the peak of her career: the 80s and 90s.
Houston sold more than 170 million copies of albums. Among the hundreds of awards, Houston received two awards from the Emmy Awards and six from the Grammy Awards.
Houston's 1985 debut album sold millions. Saving All My Love For You made her won her first Grammy award, for best female pop singer.
Born for greatness
Houston seemed born to greatness. She is the daughter of singer Cissy Houston, cousin of '60s pop diva Dionne Warwick, and goddaughter of Aretha Franklin. Houston began singing in church as a child.
In her teenage life, Houston was the backing singer for Chaka Khan and Jermaine Jackson. While she easily produced hits, such as I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) and Saving All My Love For You, Houston also brought film success around the world: The Bodyguard. The film also includes her signature hit, I Will Always Love You.
Her striking voice and image, along with her skyrocketing record sales, was accompanied by the abuse of drink and drugs. Her public appearances were erratic, and she admitted to using cocaine, marijuana, and pills that kept her from hitting the high notes she used to do in her prime.
Apart from personal issues, Houston has great affection among her music industry peers. An emotional tribute was paid hours after news of her death broke.
"I am truly saddened to hear the news of Whitney's passing", legendary music producer Quincy Jones said in a statement.
"I always regret not having had the opportunity to work with her. She is completely original and has unmatched talent. I will miss her very much".
Neil Portnow, President of the Recording Academy, which runs the Grammys, said the Grammy Awards show producers were looking for ways to honor the singer in front of her many friends in the audience. Standing on the red carpet outside the hotel, Portnow said they would "try to celebrate her life" and named Houston one of the kind singers whose work was surprising.
Not drugs, but a heartbreak
Houston married the soul singer Bobby Brown in 1992, the year The Bodyguard made her a famous acting star. But their marriage was full of trials.
Brown has been arrested several times on multiple charges, including domestic violence. The marriage ended in divorce in 2007.
At that time, Houston also had two periods of rehabilitation. She finally appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2010 to declare herself clean.
In an interview with Rolling Stone in 2018, Brown said drugs were not the reason Houston died. Instead, Brown said, Houston was "heartbroken".
"She really worked hard on herself trying to stay sober and she was a great woman", he said, saying something else played a role in her death.
Brown went on to say that the drug use the Houston admitted was the most misunderstood thing about her. Houston and Brown's only child, Bobbi Kristina Brown, died three years later.
Kristina died in 2015 in a very similar manner. The 22-year-old woman was found unconscious and drowned in a bathtub and died months later in hospital.
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