February 12th, 2012
08:31 PM ET

Whitney Houston: What we know, what questions remain

An outpouring of grief was seen from celebrities, fans and beyond on Sunday following the death of songstress Whitney Houston, 48, on Saturday at a Beverly Hills, California, hotel.

Whitney Houston: Powerful voice, stunning beauty, personal trials

However, answers about her final moments were in short supply amid a police investigation into her death - which occurred hours before she was to attend a pre-Grammy party.

What we know:

Authorities were called to Houston's hotel room at 3:43 p.m. Saturday after her bodyguard found her unconscious. Houston was found in the room's bathtub, a coroner's spokesman confirmed. He would not confirm or deny a report by the entertainment news website TMZ that pill bottles were found at the scene. Someone in her entourage removed her from the tub and attempted CPR, the spokesman said. Houston was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m., authorities said.

There were "no obvious signs of criminal intent," said Beverly Hills police Lt. Mark Rosen.

See the latest details here

While Houston had battled drug addiction for years, she was attempting a comeback, playing a few shows and working on a movie, "Sparkle," set for release this summer. An unnamed music industry executive, who was staying in the room above Houston, said she had seen Houston and her daughter swimming in the hotel pool a few days ago. The two looked happy, she said, and Houston looked healthy and beautiful.

Her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, 18, was taken to Los Angeles' Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Sunday, police in Beverly Hills said. No information on her condition was available, but CNN's Casey Wian reported Brown was released after treatment.

Houston's former husband, entertainer Bobby Brown, issued a statement Sunday:

"I am deeply saddened at the passing of my ex-wife," the statement read. "At this time, we ask for privacy, especially for my daughter, Bobbi Kristina. I appreciate all of the condolences that have been directed toward my family and I at this most difficult time."

Fallen stars from same musical era

The party Houston was set to attend Saturday night was hosted by Clive Davis, her mentor. It went on as scheduled, but Houston's death cast a shadow over the event.

Photos: Whitney and her famous friends

"I do have a heavy heart, and I am personally devastated," Davis told the gathering of artists and entertainers that included Tony Bennett, Gladys Knight and Britney Spears. He asked for a moment of silence, and said, "My heart goes out to her daughter, Bobbi Kristina, and her mother, Cissy."

Humble beginnings in church choir

The big questions:

However, many questions swirled Sunday about the cause of Houston's death. The Los Angeles County coroner's office announced late Sunday that an autopsy had been completed, but determination of a cause of death had been deferred pending toxicology testing, which could take six to eight weeks.

"At this time there's no signs of foul play," a coroner's spokesman said. He said Houston's family can proceed with funeral arrangements.

Meanwhile, Houston fans gathered outside the hotel Saturday night, lighting candles and placing roses outside.

How did Whitney Houston touch your life?

"Everyone has their own demons, and some overcome them and some never do," said fan Tya Conerly.

And with the Grammy Awards set for Sunday night, organizers hastily put into motion plans to honor Houston during the ceremony, with the help of singer Jennifer Hudson.

See what celebrities and friends are saying

There will be a "respectful musical tribute," said Ken Ehrlich, executive producer. "It's too fresh in everyone's memory to do more at this time, but we would be remiss if we didn't recognize Whitney's remarkable contribution to music fans in general, and in particular her close ties with the Grammy telecast and her Grammy wins and nominations over the years."

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Filed under: Music • Showbiz • Whitney Houston
soundoff (202 Responses)
  1. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    I was surprised by the comment that a lot of black women end up that way.
    A lot of white women end up dying of addiction. Some of them are very successful and educated. A lot of white men die of addiction, and a lot of black men.
    Addiction, as an aggressive disease, is not at all racist.

    February 12, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. RetiredVet

    The only thing that killed Whitney Houston was Whitney Houston and her lifestyle that she chose. Isn't it ironic that all of her "Hollywood friends" would now moarn her in death instead of helping her and her known addictions in life? And as far as Tony Bennett's comment on legalizing drugs, he lost my respect and many others, he should only sing and keep his opinion on this matter to himself. Will the second celebrity death be Lindsey Lohan? She is another O.D. waiting to happen.

    February 12, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Nancy

    To those who took umbridge with my comment.....name one sucessful white woman executive/educator who died of a drug overdose.

    February 12, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deborah

      Really, Nancy, go back to your hick town red neck self......................Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Janis Joplin ...........I am a proud WHITE woman hating on ignorant people like you........how many more white woman do you want me to list.........you don't even deserve three

      February 12, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justin

      Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin, Marilyn Monroe, and on and on... Addiction sees no color, it impacts those from all walks of life.

      February 12, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • NC Dude

      Shame on you.

      February 12, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • ivnprt

      You forgot to include "Entertainer"

      February 12, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      And, Nancy, it's "umbrage"....if you're going to try to sound smart (which you didn't) try to use the correct spelling. And anyone of intelligence will take umbrage with your comment as many white celebrities have died of an overdose or drug related complications....including two legends like Elvis & Jim Morrison.

      February 12, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Factors

      She was a stupid junkie – who happened to sing when she wasn't too stoned.

      February 12, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Factors

      I bet her supplier is really distraught. Bet he was clearing 50k a month from her habit.

      February 12, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      Factors: She did more in the first 30 years of her life than most will in 80. She ended on a sad note of her own doing....no doubt. But she made a mark nonetheless. Will you be able to say the same when you die, or will the 5 people at your funeral just reflect upon negative sh$% you said like this?

      February 12, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      And I think everyone could agree that hate, disrespect and bigotry is just as destructive to our society as any drug ever was.

      February 12, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ccccold

      Dana Plato, Judy garland, Gia carangi, Janis joplin, Amy win house, Bridgette Andersen....shall we continue?!?!

      February 12, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • evensteven

      Whitney has one of the most amazing and beautiful voices this planet has ever seen and the only thing you can point out is her abuse problem? Get a life—go buy a Whitney Houston album and listen to it. The people who know her music, don't focus on the abuse because they are so blown away by her talent.

      February 12, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • ﺶCHEﺶ

      @Nancy, your question you posted tells the World at large that you aren't that educated and have very little pea size brain over your pig skin shoulders. I bet you have an IQ the shoe size of a Midget Pig in a southern backward farm of filthy PIGS.

      Whew! You making even Sarah Palin, Michele Buckmann, jan brewer sound too intelligent.

      February 13, 2012 at 7:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      wow i can tell nobody will miss you when you go

      February 13, 2012 at 7:09 am | Report abuse |
  4. fernace

    I cried when Selena was murdered, I cried when Aaliyahs plane crashed & a month later when Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes died in a car crash! Today I shed a tear & send a prayer for whitney Houston, her family, friends & fans! What a voice, what a loss!!

    February 12, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. NC Dude

    Wow... it's amazing how many people here live in glass houses. We all have problems and your day too will come. Have some respect.

    February 12, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Coyote

    The woman was a wonderful singer and an addict. Her singing made us happy and the addiction made her dead.

    February 12, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • PPUGrad04


      Her circle of dependent parasitic slugs made her dead.

      I'll be you if you checked those pill bottles, all of them would be for LEGAL prescription drugs.

      Elvis. Michael. Whitney. Countless others. Who will be next?

      February 12, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Carrie C

    I am a white woman from Cleveland and I I can't believe all these people are even talking about race. It is obvious that anyone can OD – black or white. Didn't the music world recently mourn the passing of Amy Winehouse? Bottom line is that this woman was a mom and her child is mourning. She is a daughter and her mom is mourning. Be a bit more sensitive to those going through the grieving process.

    February 12, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    I have stayed many times in the hotel where Whitney Houston died.
    Ironically, one time I was there I passed a man in the hotel, and a concert manager said to me, "that was William Holden who just walked by." A short time later, Holden died in a fall said to be related to alcohol.
    I knew several musicians who died of addiction; a few of them were very famous. Every one of them was unable to make the adjustment to "being who he was."
    Performers have to deal with taking a posture that members of their audiences do not understand, and it is a posture foreign to most psychiatrists and psychologists. There is little help available to a Garland, Presley, Jackson, or Houston.

    February 12, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Gww

    I don t have to know a person to mourn a death im a caregiver and that s what i do as my profession it was Whitney Houston s time . None of us knows when that time will come to us or a love one so please take the bitterness out of your minds & heart May God bless her Daughter and Mother and Bobby Brown 2 Whitney r i p love you always

    February 12, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • gingerpeach

      Well said

      February 12, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. M

    Whether you have a great voice or best in show as a model, drugs take their toll - and the bell tolled for Whitney.

    Sad for her daughter and her mother. But they have had years of pain from watching Whitney kill herself. I hope her daughter doesn't follow suit.

    February 12, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      I love you holier than thou people. I'm sure you're without addiction yourself. These people are human beings, just like you are and they are fallible and they fall down and sometimes they get back up and sometimes they don't. Not any of us have the right to sit in judgement. Let he without sin throw the first stone. So put down the twinky and step away from the monitor.

      February 12, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mizh

    I am so sorry about this tragic loss of an angelic voice. I hope Whitney has found peace now... and in the days to come her family finds comfort in the fact that she was loved by so many.

    February 12, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. fernace

    Thank you @virginia Carnohan! I'm also part of that "silent majority," although I've actually been pretty vocal about my disdain for predjudice & bigotry, directed at any1, for any reason! We do Not need to tear apart this beautiful, talented, Human person, who has departed & left us shocked & dismayed! We have all lost an amazing singer who made life better, for a few moments with her beautiful voice & songs! I find it tragic that some posters have such hard hearts that they can't sympathize w/the families, friends & fans who have lost Whitney Houston & who think we should only mourn those we know! The ties that bind humankind is compassion & consideration! If you're low on those I urge you to do some soul searching, if you don't care I feel sorry for you! RIP in Heavens Choir, Whitney, along w/Etta James, Teena Marie, Vesta Williams & Amy Winehouse! Tear it up, y'all!!

    February 12, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    fernace is a singer, and we just heard her speaking of Whitney Houston's voice.
    Today I was with a group of professional opera singers who discussed Whitney Houston's voice with admiration for the instrument itself. That is a rare tribute for another singer whose style is not operatic.

    February 12, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    I for one have always enjoyed her music talents.
    She no doubt had a turbulent life. And the thought of her passing at such a young age of 48, really shocked me, regardless of "how" it happened.
    Rest In Peace Whitney Houston.
    As for most of the bloggers on this thread, you no doubt are the main reason for driving off the good individuals that can hold an intelligent conversation. I sure don't want to converse with you, the way you run your mouth. I do not have time to converse with you. Do not expect me back here anytime soon....

    February 12, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  15. John Doe

    Don't give a damn about her, dead or alive, she had a nice voice but not what you might call talent. She was only a tool for the music producers to milk money from a gulible public.
    Obviously she could't handle real life situations too well, not like someone with a real job.

    February 12, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jen

      I don't even know where to start with this one...you ...forget it...

      February 13, 2012 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
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