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. Jeff

    My first memories of Whitney Houston are at 80's dances when her first pop hits were on the radio, and the reaction of people there when those early hits were played in the hall. I remember putting the headphones on at a bookstore music section, and listening to several tracks on her greatest hits album, and being struck with the soulfulness and precision in her voice. Was it Elvis who said you had to sing it like you mean it? She had a real gift of meaning it with her singing. She has set the bar very high for the ones to follow her. I hope in the future the music business and paparazzi will not be so hard on artists. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and great singers and musicians have unique gifts, but they are also human beings just like the rest of us.

    February 12, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amom

      I remember being in the car w/ my teenage daughter when Whitney's hit, "And I Will Always Love You" came on. I started singing along and my daughter turns and says to me, "don't even try mom!" She was right. There is no one that can sing like Whitney. Best femal vocalist of all time.

      February 12, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. justavoice

    I think we are all drifting here. This was a beautiful lady with a God given talent that fell in love. We all do. However she happened to fall in love with a man who was abusive and an addict. He was also jealous of her. I've met a few men like this in my time. Whitney was innocent and believed in this man and couldn't see past his short comings. He separated her from her family and I truly believed brainwashed this lady. It is a shame and a horrible thing that he had such a strong hold on her for such a long time. But she loved the guy...Rest in peace Whitney and God Bless You and your family at this trying time.
    And as for you Mr. B. you will answer to a higher power in the after life my friend....May God have mercy on your soul..

    February 12, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. yuhmad

    Whitney you will always be remembered for your beautiful voice, talent and beauty.

    February 12, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. T Romper

    Hate to hear about anyone checking out on an OD. It's too bad Houston was a wonderfully talented woman, no autotune for that lady, such a powerful voice.. She had it all – looks, presence, talent – and threw it away.
    She was human, fallible and will be missed.

    February 12, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    This thread was good until 3/4 of 'em come in here with there hoo ha probably after huffing spray paint.

    February 12, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    You can actually see the spray paint running out of the nostrils of these racist bloggers. Oh look there's one huffing rustoleum.

    February 12, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. tcaros

    Cause of death: Bobby Brown.. that low life ghetto scum.

    February 12, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ruperto

    Do drugs and you shall die. It is a curse. There is no running around the bushes.

    February 12, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. b

    It's hard to feel sorry for people who have tons of talent and money, and blow it.

    February 12, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jesse

      Even talent, money, and fame can't help the devastation that comes with addiction and/or mental illness. It is easy to criticize when you haven't walked a step in that person's shoes. Gain some perspective.

      February 12, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • RockeyTopTN

      It's hard to respect people who make accusations before knowing the truth.

      February 12, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daisy

      Whitney had too many demons that she couldn't fight. RIP Whitney, you were a great singer. I feel so bad for her daughter.

      February 12, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Alicia

    Reading these comments only explains why people like Whitney found it hard to overcome addiction, having to put on a happy face when inside your dying. None of you who have commented so hatefully will ever know the pain of losing someone you love. For one reason and one only your PURE EVIL!!! THE SAME EVIL THAT WATCHED WHITNEY IN HERE LAST HOURS. People who knew she was battling alcohol and drugs allowed here to become wasted instead of ensuring that she drink soda or for that matter water. As the reports continue to pour in from those seen with her I can't help but wonder should the laws be change to prosecute those who enable people with with chemical dependency. We saw this with Micheal Jackson, Anna Nicole Smith, and now Whitney Houston. The only person you can count on is yourself and GOD!!! Rest In Peace Whitney!!!!!

    February 12, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • tcaros

      She was a crack addict. Bobby Brown got her hooked on it, just like a ghetto pimp.

      February 12, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • matt stryker

      you are like the rest of them...im talking about the ones that blamed MJ's doctor for killing him and overlooking the real problem that Michael Jackson had the ACTUAL drug problem...yes now lets all go on a witch hunt and try to find who was RESPONSIBLE for whitney houstons death..surely it has nothing to do with her own addiction

      February 12, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adra

      Alicia. I agree with some of your comments. There are so many questions yet to be answered. In some interview comments, Whitney stated she was happy, and ready to make a change. However, this could have been something she stated for the media. She could have been hurting badly on the inside, yet no one notice the body language in cry for help. She had friends that night, that should have noticed something. knowing her battles related to drugs and alcohol. Even the media has been speaking of Ray J. This is strange? Once again there are a lot of questions yet not answered. My prayers are with friends and family, Hope you truthfully will find out the answer the what really happen.

      February 12, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jesse

      What? Prosecuting enablers? That is stupid, and think about how hard it would be to enforce. That would get every bartender in the world put behind bars.

      February 12, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lisa

      WOW! Where did you go to school? You need to learn how to spell before you post on a public forum. I would be ashamed to post your statement without a spell checker!

      February 12, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • BigRed

      Yes, of course. The idea is to blame everyone else except for Whitney for the disaster she created for herself. Blame is where blame is due. She and Bobbi Brown became the trash they chose to be and she died as a result. No one can take away those rare moments of her brilliance but in the end it was completely Whitney Houston's choices in life that led to her death. Sad but true.

      February 12, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ouchtime

    I am glad she is no longer suffering.....she is hopfully in heaven with god....dont really know her faith or what she believed tho.

    February 12, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. tcaros

    Bobby Brown was/is a dirt bag.

    February 12, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. tcaros

    Her ghetto pimp and drug dealer, Bobby Brown, is the reason she died early.

    February 12, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • BigRed

      Truest thing said on this blog so far.

      February 12, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ken Myers

    How about this novel thought; let the Los Angeles County Coroner's office do their investigation on how Whitney Houston died instead of the often erroneous speculation by the tabloid and mainstream media to fill in space on their 24/7/365 news cycle. That would make sense, and the ravenous media will NOT allow that to happen. They want to be the first to break the scoop whether it has been confirmed or not.

    February 12, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. steve

    for all we know
    the lady could have went into coronary arrest
    doesn't have to be drugs etc
    too much speculation on the death of a human being

    February 12, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
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