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. ♔Mmmmm♕

    too many times people limit their importance and dignity to what they do and what they have or worse yet by their failings and hardships...but the human personhood and dignity isn't define by that and really is so much much greater than that...

    February 12, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. LoriPinCO

    I'm saddened by her death as well. But I have to wonder why TMZ is getting all the updates and other outlets are not. I think I will wait till all the facts have come in to say anything about her death...except that her death was untimely. From all I've heard and read, she was on her way back...and working at it very hard. She will be missed by many.

    February 12, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Aj

    Lori. I know it sounds like tmz can't be right. Aren't they just a gossip site. But take a look at their reporting on michael jacksons death. Watch tmz harvey levins addresss to the national press club that aired on c-span on their work to gain sources. Tmz has what appears to be the best sources out there at the la coroners office and other local law enforcement agencies. They are right on this stuff way more than they are wrong.

    February 12, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Indifferent

    The world awaits a toxicology report. . .

    February 12, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bookenz

      Yes, big mystery.,,

      February 12, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. adam brower

    the media ate her alive since she was a kid. she had no quiet, no serenity, no space. these things were denied her by the vultures who fed on her, who wrung coins from her every desperate grasp for relief, headlines from her every pain, all to sell soap. now the vultures will cash in on headlines about her death, sell soap with her pain and her tragedy, but she haa esacped from them. they will still exploit the diminishing echo of her sweet voice and brief, sad flicker upon this earth, but they can't use her anymore. they can't sell her anymore. poor Whitney, free at last.

    February 12, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JM

    Once I tried to commit suicide with pills, but I lived, got help and I never tried it again. It would have been a permanent solution to a temporary problem, and in looking back, I am so thankful I was saved, but seeing anyone commit suicide, in the celeb world or in the regular world, is absolutely gut wrenching. She had a daughter to look after, she had people who cared, and she had more than most of us will ever have in this life, as measured in fame and fortune. But Bobby was her biggest demon, no question about that.

    February 12, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Maryanne

    RIP Whtney, you are now singing for God. God bless

    February 12, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Suzanne

    I was not terribly surprised to learn of Whitney Houston's death. Saddened, but not shocked. The woman had been going downhill due to drugs for years. Such a shame. She had a tremendous voice. She wasn't vulgar. She didn't need clown makeup or outrageous costumes. She had talent. Money, fame and talent don't always seem to be as fulfilling as some may think. Look at how many outwardly successful people turn to drugs, alcohol or other things. So many die. Things cannot bring happiness. My heart goes out to her daughter and her family. I hope this doesn't turn into a media circus like Anna Nicole Smith's death did. Leave the family to mourn and respect their privacy. R.I.P. Ms. Houston.

    February 12, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • tj

      well said Suzanne.

      February 12, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Smoosh

      Very well said Suzanne.......Rest in Peace Whitney.....

      February 12, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • BuddhaBill

      Sorry Suzanne, but the very fact that you are reading about Whitney's death and posting comments is exactly why the media circus will continue.

      Being a celebrity is selling your personnae to the media. Nothing is off-limits, and CERTAINLY not an early departure. There's money to be made here from your eyeballs...and mine. Celebs know what they are in for, otherwise they would shun events like the Grammys, etc.

      February 12, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Josh

    Could she have planned to do this on the eve of the Grammies? Wanting a fitting way to be remember? To go out in a big way?

    February 12, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eddiejay

      Josh – that's just plain stupid.

      February 12, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. toadears

    toxicology will take up to 8 weeks. This seems to be the standard way to die now in the entertainment business.

    February 12, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • TomCom

      Entertainers are no different than the rest of us. Common folks die every day of drug use

      February 12, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonasbros

      Why do the tests take so long? can't they just ship it to CSI LV?

      February 12, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jon

    Whitney Houston was blessed with one of the greatest voices that I have ever heard. NBC's Lester Holt said there were demons in her. Let us remember that no matter what, the devil is alive and is always out to recruit us. It happens. I know. Beware, the demons and the devil can get us, and may happen to the best of us.

    February 12, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dyshauna

    Perfect example of "human" meaning even thought she was a legend, she was still human. No one is infallable, we are all prone to mistake, lets not be disrespectful and post things like " you are a disgusting example of the human race". Instead we should applaud her for atleast trying to overcome her problems. Whitney, even in your death people will show how much they lack respect, and show how heartless they are. I choose to remember you for your voice, your amazing natural talent, and all of those legendary moments in your career. No matter what, you are a force to be reckoned with. I hope you are finally resting, stress free, no pressure from the industry, no temptations, just peaceful resting. I hate that people are so negative and cold. I hate that you had to leave us so early and that u struggled in life, but I am honored to have been blessed with your music. You have influenced my voice, but no one is comparable to you. NO ONE! and nobody can touch you now, so let them trash your name, even more reason for God to treasure you in heaven!!!

    February 12, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • spartan1982

      Very well said Dyshauna.

      February 12, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • gingerpeach

      Very well said. Whitney had the greatest voive I ever heard! And she kept herself so classy.

      February 12, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jim

    Whitney Houston had an unbelievable voice! She hit notes that others only dreamed of and she never seemed to strain to hit them either. How sad that drugs and alcohol diminished her star long before it should have. She didn't have to do dance moves that looked like they came straight out of the bedroom and she didn't have to dress like trash. Her voice was all she needed and that's what we wanted from her. Whitney was a true talent with no gimmicks needed! I think her greatest song was "I Will Always Love You". No one will ever sing that song like she could. RIP Whitney and my sympathies to your daughter.

    February 12, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bubba™

    We know she was a drug abuser. What else do we need to know at this point?

    February 12, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. paranel

    People. Please don't make this forum a personal trashy battle zone. Let's remember Whitney for her great voice and her everlasting footprint in the music industry. She went thru her battles like most people do . We are not all strong and immune. She did have a disease called addiction. Why judge or blame ? She is gone forever. RIP angel.

    February 12, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
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