[Update a/o 3:36 p.m.] An autopsy has been conducted on Whitney Houston, but Beverly Hills police say that a hold has been placed on the findings.

[Update a/o 11:30 a.m.] Officials report that Whitney Houston’s body was moved to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office in Boyle Heights where an autopsy is expected to be performed sometime Sunday. » READ MORE

LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — Whitney Houston, who reigned as pop music’s queen until her majestic voice and regal image were ravaged by drug use, erratic behavior and a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown, has died. She was 48.

Publicist Kristen Foster said Saturday that the singer had died, but the cause and the location of her death were unknown.

Reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, Edward Lawrence said she was found on the 4th floor of the Beverly Hilton. He said paramedics tried to revive her but she was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m.

Houston was set to attend Clive Davis’s annual pre-Grammy party.

Notable music producer Scott Bomar told CBS, “Whitney performing was always the apex of this party. It is surreal that she passed here earlier today. You can feel in the room that we have lost one of our own and an icon. It was all made more real when I got into an elevator with Dionne Warwick and many of her family…you realize how much of a loss this is not only to her fans but her family as well.”

Chaka Khan and Jennifer Hudson will reportedly sing a tribute to Houston at Sunday’s Grammys. Khan, of course, first sang one of Houston’s biggest smashes, “I’m Every Woman.”

At her peak, Houston the golden girl of the music industry. From the middle 1980s to the late 1990s, she was one of the world’s best-selling artists. She wowed audiences with effortless, powerful, and peerless vocals that were rooted in the black church but made palatable to the masses with a pop sheen.

Her success carried her beyond music to movies, where she starred in hits like “The Bodyguard” and “Waiting to Exhale.”

She had the he perfect voice, and the perfect image: a gorgeous singer who had sex appeal but was never overtly sexual, who maintained perfect poise.

She influenced a generation of younger singers, from Christina Aguilera to Mariah Carey, who when she first came out sounded so much like Houston that many thought it was Houston.

But by the end of her career, Houston became a stunning cautionary tale of the toll of drug use. Her album sales plummeted and the hits stopped coming; her once serene image was shattered by a wild demeanor and bizarre public appearances. She confessed to abusing cocaine, marijuana and pills, and her once pristine voice became raspy and hoarse, unable to hit the high notes as she had during her prime.

“The biggest devil is me. I’m either my best friend or my worst enemy,” Houston told ABC’s Diane Sawyer in an infamous 2002 interview with then-husband Brown by her side.

It was a tragic fall for a superstar who was one of the top-selling artists in pop music history, with more than 55 million records sold in the United States alone.

She seemed to be born into greatness. She was the daughter of gospel singer Cissy Houston, the cousin of 1960s pop diva Dionne Warwick and the goddaughter of Aretha Franklin.

856136 10 Officials Say Autopsy On Whitney Houston Is Complete

Photo Gallery: Universal City, Ca Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston at the MTV awards. (Photo by Brenda Chase Online USA, Inc.)

Houston first started singing in the church as a child. In her teens, she sang backup for Chaka Khan, Jermaine Jackson and others, in addition to modeling. It was around that time when music mogul Clive Davis first heard Houston perform.

“The time that I first saw her singing in her mother’s act in a club … it was such a stunning impact,” Davis told “Good Morning America.”

“To hear this young girl breathe such fire into this song. I mean, it really sent the proverbial tingles up my spine,” he added.

Before long, the rest of the country would feel it, too. Houston made her album debut in 1985 with “Whitney Houston,” which sold millions and spawned hit after hit. “Saving All My Love for You” brought her her first Grammy, for best female pop vocal. “How Will I Know,” ”You Give Good Love” and “The Greatest Love of All” also became hit singles.

Another multiplatinum album, “Whitney,” came out in 1987 and included hits like “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”

The New York Times wrote that Houston “possesses one of her generation’s most powerful gospel-trained voices, but she eschews many of the churchier mannerisms of her forerunners. She uses ornamental gospel phrasing only sparingly, and instead of projecting an earthy, tearful vulnerability, communicates cool self-assurance and strength, building pop ballads to majestic, sustained peaks of intensity.”

Her decision not to follow the more soulful inflections of singers like Franklin drew criticism by some who saw her as playing down her black roots to go pop and reach white audiences. The criticism would become a constant refrain through much of her career. She was even booed during the “Soul Train Awards” in 1989.

“Sometimes it gets down to that, you know?” she told Katie Couric in 1996. “You’re not black enough for them. I don’t know. You’re not R&B enough. You’re very pop. The white audience has taken you away from them.”

Some saw her 1992 marriage to former New Edition member and soul crooner Bobby Brown as an attempt to refute those critics. It seemed to be an odd union; she was seen as pop’s pure princess while he had a bad-boy image, and already had children of his own. (The couple had a daughter, Bobbi Kristina, in 1993.) Over the years, he would be arrested several times, on charges ranging from DUI to failure to pay child support.

But Houston said their true personalities were not as far apart as people may have believed.

“When you love, you love. I mean, do you stop loving somebody because you have different images? You know, Bobby and I basically come from the same place,” she told Rolling Stone in 1993. “You see somebody, and you deal with their image, that’s their image. It’s part of them, it’s not the whole picture. I am not always in a sequined gown. I am nobody’s angel. I can get down and dirty. I can get raunchy.”

It would take several years, however, for the public to see that side of Houston. Her moving 1991 rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” at the Super Bowl, amid the first Gulf War, set a new standard and once again reaffirmed her as America’s sweetheart.

In 1992, she became a star in the acting world with “The Bodyguard.” Despite mixed reviews, the story of a singer (Houston) guarded by a former Secret Service agent (Kevin Costner) was an international success.

It also gave her perhaps her most memorable hit: a searing, stunning rendition of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You,” which sat atop the charts for weeks. It was Grammy’s record of the year and best female pop vocal, and the “Bodyguard” soundtrack was named album of the year.

She returned to the big screen in 1995-96 with “Waiting to Exhale” and “The Preacher’s Wife.” Both spawned soundtrack albums, and another hit studio album, “My Love Is Your Love,” in 1998, brought her a Grammy for best female R&B vocal for the cut “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay.”

But during these career and personal highs, Houston was using drugs. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2010, she said by the time “The Preacher’s Wife” was released, “(doing drugs) was an everyday thing. … I would do my work, but after I did my work, for a whole year or two, it was every day. … I wasn’t happy by that point in time. I was losing myself.”

In the interview, Houston blamed her rocky marriage to Brown, which included a charge of domestic abuse against Brown in 1993. They divorced in 2007.

Houston would go to rehab twice before she would declare herself drug-free to Winfrey in 2010. But in the interim, there were missed concert dates, a stop at an airport due to drugs, and public meltdowns.

She was so startlingly thin during a 2001 Michael Jackson tribute concert that rumors spread she had died the next day. Her crude behavior and jittery appearance on Brown’s reality show, “Being Bobby Brown,” was an example of her sad decline. Her Sawyer interview, where she declared “crack is whack,” was often parodied. She dropped out of the spotlight for a few years.

Houston staged what seemed to be a successful comeback with the 2009 album “I Look To You.” The album debuted on the top of the charts, and would eventually go platinum.

Things soon fell apart. A concert to promote the album on “Good Morning America” went awry as Houston’s voice sounded ragged and off-key. She blamed an interview with Winfrey for straining her voice.

A world tour launched overseas, however, only confirmed suspicions that Houston had lost her treasured gift, as she failed to hit notes and left many fans unimpressed; some walked out. Canceled concert dates raised speculation that she may have been abusing drugs, but she denied those claims and said she was in great shape, blaming illness for cancellations.

Simon Cowell was reportedly considering Houston to fill a judges seat on Fox’s second season of “X Factor.”

Houston had recently finished filming a starring role in the remake of the 1976 film “Sparkle.” Saturday evening, a spokesperson for Sony Pictures said the movie’s August 17th release date remains firm.

Neil Portnow, president and CEO of the Recording Academy, said in a statement, “Six-time Grammy-winner Whitney Houston was one of the world’s greatest pop singers of all time who leaves behind a robust musical soundtrack spanning the past three decades. Her powerful voice graced many memorable and award-winning songs. A light has been dimmed in our music community today, and we extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends, fans and all who have been touched by her beautiful voice.”

In a later report for CBS2 and KCAL9, Edward Lawrence said scores of fans have gathered outside the Hilton. “Many are holding candles and many are singing her songs.”

He spoke to fan Melody Daff who said the singer’s death hit close to home. “I’m 48. She was 48.”

IMAGES: Whitney Houston’s Amazing Life And Tragic Death

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (34)
  1. VNance says:

    Whitney Houston was a soulful person that rose to the top due to her unique voice. Whitney knew her roots and overcame obstacles. We often put stars on a pedestal and condemn them when they make mistakes. We are all human; talents are gifts to be treasured. Whitney touched a lot of souls. God grant her peace and much love to her family. Bless you Whitney; rest in Peace!

  2. GROWAPAIR says:

    Oh well, no one to sue.

  3. rose says:

    Correction it was Whitney Houston who sang Chaka Khan’s song I’m every woman.

  4. Sassy Gossip says:

    Whitney was a legend – there are not many singers today who even match her talents – she will be sorely missed. R.I.P.

    1. Beate says:

      Plain and simple.. People don’t have atneml issues because there is a lack of Prozac in their brain..Prescription medications may help with a few symptoms but the problem that they are address are still there. Medications have never been intended to cure but rather generate revenue by the patient being forced to take a medication for life.This also comes at the cost of countless side effects. Sure you may not been feeling the effects of an emotional disorder.. But have you prepared yourself for that kidney transplant your going to need in a few years because of the medication side effects?And guess what? Your going to pay for that too or die..Look for alternatives to prescription medications . Hospitals, doctors, pharmaceutical companies don’t make any money from healthy people.Its not in their best interested to make you well.Greed rules all.. And your foolish to think it don’t rule your health-care professionals too.

  5. tasha says:

    Did you hear the 8 year old Erica Cherry on that did the tribute I have nothing acapella. She was amazing! She reminded me why i loved Whitney!

  6. Zane says:

    Do all drug abusers deserve such alcolades

  7. Average Gal says:

    Whitney Houston was set-up…let’s see, something is clearly not right with this story.

    Foul play is definitely involved here. Why has this case been closed so quickly and foul play ruled out without a full-scale investigation haven taken place at all? She did not OD on drugs. There are far too many unanswered questions.

    In this case, Whitney Houston’s naked 5 ft. 8 body was discovered in her bathroom in a bathtub filled with water, and in her hotel room at the Beverly Hilton hotel.

    She “seemingly” slid backwards into the tub filled with water? What are the dimensions of that bathtub that she was found in? It is not likely that a 5 fit. 8 woman (Whitney’s height) gets water in her lungs after taking a mixture of prescription drugs and alcohol, and sliding backwards into a tub of water.

    Someone needs to test her champagne bottle and her turkey sandwich to see if anything was put into it also. And, why did Ray J mysteriously disappear? There was an interview and a woman said that she her someone scream some words from Whitney’s hotel room hours or a day before. Was Whitney arguing with Ray J or someone else? Who had access to her hotel room?

    Let’s see, Whitney had a bodyguard, make up artist and hair stylist with her, right? How long had she known these people and what are their roles in all of this? Where was the bodyguard when Whitney was in her tub bathing, did anyone fingerprint the doorknob on the bathroom door? Playback the video cameras and see who was in that hotel room just prior to or after her death.

    Isn’t Ray’s sister, Brandy, the same one who murdered a woman years ago when she struck some woman with her car? Is her brother also a murderer? Why does Ray J seem so suspcious in all his recent interviews after Whitney’s death? Everyone knows the two were dating.

    Whitney was scheduled to appear at the Grammy’s shortly thereafter…there is way more to this story.

    Whitney Houston was choked and made to appear like she had drowned. There are hair ties on her bathroom floor of her hotel room. Did someone choke her with those hair ties or something else?

    The truth will come out.

  8. Average Gal says:

    There is evidence that supports a finding that what happened to Whitney was intentional and not “a tragic accident,” this is the point.


    Whitney had scratches on her face and hands at the time her naked body was discovered in the bathtub – usually a sign of a struggle with someone..was she trying to remove someone’s hand from over her face while she was being held under water?

    An executive on the 5th floor, right above Whitney’s hotel room says she (the exec.) heard two loud BOOMS at approx. 3:45 p.m. and these BOOMS awoke her (the exec). Afterwards, the exec heard the voice of “men” talking in a “commanding tone” in Whitney’s hotel room. At 3:55 p.m. the fire department arrived on the scene. – Who were these men who were in Whitney’s room? Why were they talking in a loud threatening voice? What was the BOOM? Her body falling?

    Whitney’s bathroom had water on the floor of the tub and the cup of olive oil was still on the floor and she hadn’t poured it into her bathtub yet? Hmm…is the water on the bathroom floor a sign that she was struggling with someone either before or after entering the tub? That the olive oil cup was still on the floor shows Whitney hadn’t been in the tub long because he hadn’t poured it in the water yet.

    How did the bottles of prescription meds get in Whitney’s room? Let’s see…the prescription meds were possibly placed there afterwards as part of a plan to make it appear that Whitney had ingested these meds? What is the Midol for? Whitney was 48 years old…did she still get periods? What the Midol Bobbi Kristina’s?

    Where was her bodyguard at during this time? Did he conveniently disappear or was he in on this too? Ray J had several “missed calls” on his cell moments before Whitney’s body was discovered. Whitney and Ray J had argued reportedly days before that time. Why does Ray J look so guilty in all his subsequent interviews? Seems suspicious.

    So many other questions I have…did someone follow Whitney back to hotel room after she approved the picture for her photo layout?


    1. Andre says:

      Perdi minha me3e ao 6 anos 2 irme3os 1 irme3 depois de os ter predido aos 8 anos, perdi meu pai fiquei jogado nas ruas de se3o paulo durante 11 anos e 16 anos nas drogas, mas Deus teve misericordia de mim,pois tomava 4 litros de pinga para suporta os dias de frio, nunca achei que fosse sair daquela miseria. Ja tinha tentado de tudo, mas ne3o conseguia. Ningue9m acreditava mais em mim por causa dos meus graves defeitos, mas o Deus q pega o torto e endireita fez o milagre em mim! hoje vivo pra Deus

  9. selma.white says:

    Whitney was scheduled to appear at the Grammy’s shortly thereafter…there is way more to this story. My friend just met a chocolate man on BlackwhitePlanet.COMit’s where for men and women looking for interracial’ship for a fabulous lifestyle
    It’s a nice place for black white sing’les, to interact with each other…no bounds or extremes in front of true love.

  10. Average Gal says:

    Whitney Houston was set up…this was an intended death and Ray J has a lot to do with it, and possibly even Clive.


    Whitney was with someone in her hotel room right before her death – she had two meals. 1) a hamburger with fries and a Heineken and 2) a turkey sandwich with champagne. I don’t believe both of these meals were Whitney’s alone. The meal was for two, not one person. Hopefully, the Coroner’s checked the contents of Whitney’s stomach to see what food if any was in her stomach. Someone else, i.e., Ray, was in her hotel room with her…No one one woman will eat all that food. Whitney has always been skinny.

    Reportedly, upon hearing that Whitney was dead, one of Ray J’s friends put his hand on his (Ray J) shoulder and said, “Whitney dead. We got to live with that.” …Hmmm…did they kill her intentionally?

    Brandy is secretive about something…she (Brandy) is covering up something, probably for her brother Ray J. What was on the note Whitney Houston handed to Brandy during the interview with Monica and Clive? When Brandy looked down at the note she (Brandy) looked surprised…days later Whitney died. Brandy has refused adamantly to answer what the contents of the note contained, this is possibly police evidence.

    Brandy and her brother Ray J were spotted at the airport recently and both look guilty, like they know a lot more than they are sharing with everyone.

    FBI and full-scale investigation will reveal the truth, the Whitney Houston did not die from a heart attack or OD…but her death was intended and at the hands of another person.

    FOUL PLAY…don’t let Whitney go out like this

  11. Average Gal says:

    Whitney was set-up…FOUL PLAY. Law enforcement needs to get on the ball on this one….


    Whitney Houston’s body was discovered in the bathtub allegedly? Yet no bodily fluids were discovered in her tub…Hmm… when a person dies, everything comes out of the body…and nothing was discovered in her bathtub? Okay now this story is really started to smell bad. It seems she died somewhere else and was placed in the tub afterwards.

    Another thing…Whitney reportedly did not really even take bathes. Those close to her know this about Whitney. She personally believed that tubs hold dirt and she would frequently take showers instead. I cannot believe the “so-called” coroner’s investigation “missed” this…No bodily fluids in a tub where someone had just died and had just allegedly eaten a turkey sandwich only moments before?

    Well well well.. The facts show that Ms. Houston did not die in the tub, the fact that the olive oil was still on the ground and had not been poured into her bathtub yet to make her skin soft, shows she hadn’t even been in the tub that long, if she was in fact in it at all. BOOM!

    At which point was her body placed in the tub? By whom? If she had died in the tub her body would have “slumped” over forward given her 5 ft 8 height. She was a very tall woman. She wouldn’t have “slid” backwards.

    She died outside the tub, and someone strategically put her body in the bathtub…I won’t who did it? The facts show Ms. Houston had water in her lungs, so whomever or the person who did this, put her head under water after the fact so just enough water could get into her lungs to give the “impression” that Ms. Houston had possibly OD’d on drugs and drowned on her own. Look closely at the facts and the evidence shows this is contrary to existing facts.

    Beverly Hills PD knows the story given to them by those last with her is fishy, and they are investigating low-key and when the full-scale investigation comes out it is a wrap.

    Someone is going to jail…say goodbye Ray J.

  12. Deputy Deb says:

    Did broke ass Ray J and his broke ass sister sacrifice Whitney. Just asking cause we all know how desperate they are to get in where they fit in.

  13. Ste says:

    well,well,well…… i believe that soon or later the truth will be revealed especially on this kind of subject.

  14. John says:

    I understand YOU love her .Please sit down with her and have a long talk..No ellying ,,accusing, etc.. Ask her truly if SHE loves YOU? I think with everything that has gone on this has to be the first thing you two discuss. I wake up every day and I can look at my husband and say “WOW I LOVE THIS MAN”. That says it all. Have you two ever really sat down and tried to talk about all this? For your marriage to work, RESPECT,COMPROMISE, NOT BEING SELFISH, is the key ingredients. When you love someone you are willing to do these things. IT REALLY WORKS!!! But, both of you have to be willing Truly being in love means all the above I mentioned. If you two can be together as a married couple, you both need to stop completely seeing other people and work on the two of you I find happiness when I can do something for my man,,even if it means I have to give something up! *******************I am responding to your additional comments: She said she likes physical closeness BUT NOT WITH YOU? Hmmmmm sounds like YOU need to let all this go and try to move on. I realize it was a long marriage but I don’t think you can stay with someone who cannot LOVE YOU the way you should be loved! ???

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