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. steve

    I guess I'm behind in the times but I never knew (if it's all true) that Bobby Brown was a piece of garbage who beat her introduced her to drugs etc. if this is true, that scumbag should not be allowed to even attend the wake. i hope his poor daughter disowns this rotten ghetto thug.

    February 12, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. 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 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Edward

    CNNs initial article yesterday said that the person in the room above heard two loud booms and a man screaming. Sounds to me like she shot herself.

    Now this articles says that she was found unconscious in the tub with bottles of pills next to her. No comment now until the coroner puts out some kind of report.

    February 12, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joyce

    What was up with the two loud "booms" heard by the person upstairs? Could she have fallen and hit her head? Was it the bodyguard breaking down a door?

    February 12, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. LZhoabinh

    Jimi gave us rainbows
    And Janis took a piece of our hearts
    And Otis brought us all to the dock of a bay
    Sing a song to light my fire
    Remember Jim that way
    They've all found another place
    Another place to play"
    –Rock and Roll Heaven, Righteous Brothers
    Yes, Whitney Houston and her landmark music were a generation apart from those mentioned in this whimsical rhapsody but could it serve as a bridge to a more peaceful place - in lieu of casting blame, being judgemental, panting over a toxicology report. Hendrix, Joplin and Morrison allegedly had their chemical demons which even today overshadow their incredible talents and legacies. Otis - arguably one of the most electrifying soul singers in the last half century - was reportedly a straight arrow who died in a plane crash. The accident that claimed his life...and the No. 1 hit "Sitting at the Dock of the Bay" were, to most, what framed him, primarily by media attention. Most music fans never heard work like "These Arms of Mine" or his rendition of "Satisfaction" - a blast that makes the Stones sound like sand. Point: please, right now, embrace Whitney Houston and her gifts to us, for what she did to your heart, that she was so much more than a line of coke, other human frailties. Forgive and forget the small stuff, celebrate her greater good, of which there was an abundance. Like the song says, she's found another place to play.

    February 12, 2012 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • BigRed

      Whitney brought us crack is whack. (sob sob)

      February 12, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. BOMBO ©

    celebrities, fans......and beyond? Are we talking tributes from the netherworld, or what?

    February 12, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jammaster

    God bless the family of the very talented Whitney Houston. May she rest is peace.

    February 12, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Greek American

    Many of the TMZ reports and other similar TV shows I have watched are showing pictures of Whitney partying the night before. She looks pretty messed up and there's another picture of blood running down her leg by her knee which was supposedly caused by her falling down while partying. So I'm thinking overdose may be the cause?

    February 12, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daisy

      Duh, pills, bath tub, just like Jim morrison

      February 13, 2012 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
  9. Name*sherry

    I will miss the great Whitney Houston music was great she was icon prayers go out too the famliy

    February 12, 2012 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Trina

    Whitney will live on in my heart forever, she was a true angel and gave her best at everything she did, marriage, motherhood and fame. She is a true blessing to my generation and many others after me, but my heart aches for Bobbi Kris no child at 18 should have to lay their parent to rest, I pray for her strength and I pray the Lord can give her some comfort at this time, Whitney RIP.

    February 13, 2012 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
  11. Kim

    Some people come into this world with a God given gift that was meant to touch the spirit of mankind. Whitney Houston, you are an amazingly, gifted artist that God saw fit to call home to lead His Heavenly choir. Sing, Whitney, sing!

    February 13, 2012 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
  12. LittleMo

    To those who think Whitney died from drug abusel, that can be, and often is, both true and false. For anyone who remembers the BeeGees, their younger brother, Andy Gibb, suffered the same kind of consequences. Hie abused drugs in his drugs through his 20s and ended up dying of heart failure 5 days after he turned 30. Though the drugs caused the damage to his body and internal organs, it was heart failure that killed him. "We may find out later that the same is true for Whitney. Whatever happened, it's wrong to speak ill of the dead as they can't defend themselves. But if people cant' have compassion for that, how about a little compassion for an 18-year-old girl who just lost her mother. Even Bobby Brown is grieving. Leave them alone and let Whitney's family heal in peace.

    February 13, 2012 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jen

    I first saw Whitney on the cover and inside many Seventeen magazines. That's how I always remembered her first, as a model, then singer and actress. More than any of that, she was just a person, an incredibly successful person, who became addicted to drugs. It is a life-long struggle. I can't imagine how difficult it was for her to fight the addiction given her success and the money that came along with it.

    February 13, 2012 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
  14. power4things

    Bobby Brown's tearful contrition is a bit late, he can't tell Whitney "I'm sorry" now ...

    February 13, 2012 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
  15. Sam27

    RIP Whitney! One of the most powerful & beautiful voices ever! My condolences to the family and friends

    February 13, 2012 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
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