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. Granny

    So sad. Prayers go out to WH's family and friends. When she sang, you felt she was singing directly for you/ to you. Too young for the light to be out. Hope the coronor's report brings a little peace to all.

    February 13, 2012 at 1:36 am | Report abuse |
  2. Philip

    We know she had a battle with drug and s ex addiction. And we know that she is no longer alive and can no longer sing to us. What more is there? We mourn the loss of her music, but we have been mourning that for years. Nothing new from Whitney since she went Brown. We still have her CD's. That's all we really got from her anyway. She has paid for her sins with her very own life. If you do not believe in sin, rip the "S" from your dictionary.

    February 13, 2012 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Judge and Executioner

      So very judgemental. As everyone here is. We've read of your past indescretions. What have YOU done to atone? Judge everyone else, that's all.

      February 13, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  3. Sid McHenry

    This is sad, yes, but I just can't comprehend why some people are shocked by this. Sure, Whitney Houston was only 48, but that's like 114 in crack years.

    February 13, 2012 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
  4. Realpoet2

    Salute to Whitney
    I wrote a poem to Whitney Houston when I was So Emotional then
    Wondering if she would turn her life around How Will I Know when
    And now stunned at her demise, I say so long, I Will Always Love You
    For Whitney was the Best, I waited for her to Exhale, what did she do

    Didn’t We Almost Have it all back from Whitney she was about to shine
    It would be Like I never Left, sure it was like One Moment in Time
    Those are the words she said, but Didn’t Know her own Strength today
    I feel so sad about Whitney Houston, Its Not Right, But Its Okay

    The father said to Whitney I Got You, My Million Dollar Bill
    Whitney has Left Joy to the World as she goes over that Hill
    One of my favorite Whitney songs is Saving all my Love for you
    Now I have Nothing But Love for the Diva she was and her songs too

    As I write her songs down I wanna Dance With Somebody who loves me
    Thank you father for the Miracle of Whitney Houston you let us see
    Now father I Look To You, and Call you Tonight don’t let her family fall
    For you gave us the voice of Whitney Houston The Greatest Love of All

    By Realpoet2
    Each Line has one of her famous songs

    February 13, 2012 at 2:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Mawushi Nuts

      Nice poem, thanks!

      February 13, 2012 at 3:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Dylan Thomas

      Don't quit your day job, you artless, pathetic hack!

      February 13, 2012 at 6:28 am | Report abuse |
    • ﺶCHEﺶ

      @Dylan Thomas; you don't even appreciate human nature or even others who are trying to grieve whichever way possible which is their BIRTH RIGHT.
      I bet you will be foaming around your mouth, throwing temper tantrums and fuming with anger if Pres. Obama asked you politely NOT to quit your day job. You will be on every News Media outlet selling books about Pres. Obama's comments and trying to cash in.
      Hey, who knows those GOP psychos may even elect you to be their presidential candidate.

      February 13, 2012 at 7:36 am | Report abuse |
  5. mel

    Good grief....do any of you people have your own families and lifes to live and worry about? Let the Houstons, and their family and friends, move on without all this negativity and judgement. Live your own lives, as they should be able to live and mourn their loss in peace!

    February 13, 2012 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
  6. mccgeno

    THE Diva is gone. And people please don't try to sing her songs, you can't do it. Your mom's lying.

    February 13, 2012 at 3:04 am | Report abuse |
  7. Ken

    My favourite recording by Miss Houston, the brilliant and so very sad and poignant "I Learned From The Best (I Learned From You" now takes on a kind of tragic resonance. Give it a spin sometime, Bobby. RIP sweet lady.

    February 13, 2012 at 3:37 am | Report abuse |
  8. Denverdriver

    Another talented star who could have anything and everything she wanted throws it all away on booze and drugs.

    February 13, 2012 at 3:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Remo

      I wish people stop talking neg. when people die its easy to say what you wouldnt done cause you wasnt in the other person shoes and dont know what demons or stress the person was dealing with so keep these comments to yourself and she respect.....

      February 13, 2012 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jo

    Jennifer Hudson singing I Will Always Love You just proved what a beautiful singer Whitney Houston was.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Patti

      I agree, Jennifer Hudson's singing was beautiful and obviously very emotional, but I kept waiting for that sweet strong high note that never came. I never owned any of her music, but always stopped what I was doing to listen whenever her songs were on tv or radio. Loved her in movies, she was beautiful on the screen and acted better than may actresses shoved in our faces today. I took it for granted that she would always be there. RIP Whitney Houston.

      February 13, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Helene

    Whitney has passed away, that is a sad fact. Why can't people just reflect on all the positives a person has done in his/her lifetime, instead of trashing them? We all make mistakes, but hopefully we learn from them. And yet we're all perfect in our own way. She had such talent, it was a shame she had to struggle through life. But hopefully she found peace where ever she is now. RIP beautiful woman.

    If you have nothing nice to say about Whitney, or anyone else, then keep it to yourself.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Paulette

      I totally agree. This is not the time to negative when you have so many Whitney fans reading this. Some of you are just heartless to say the least. For once, keep your negative opinions to yourselves. No one wants to read that.

      February 13, 2012 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
  11. rkz666

    I don't understand where race has any part in this blog. in my opinion whitney transcended race with her music. Music transcends race! i agree with dyshauna! we don't know how tough whitney's struggles were. Obviously she was trying to make a comeback. We can all assume that she didn't want to die and leave behind a beautiful 18 yr old daughter! We all have our last times before we try to deal with difficult resolutions! Unfortunately with drugs you're playing with fire! Let Whitney have peace and as John Lennon said, everyone else should give peace a chance!

    February 13, 2012 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
  12. Clement Babatunde

    I feel much pains seeing people die of what I call conscious stupidity, these are people who younger generations look up to as role models and father, mother, brother or sister figure, however these people never know how so lucky they are, how very privileged they’d been, with all the fames and millions, these people never sit down and think how they can be instrumental by influencing to being useful to their families, neighbors, friends, co-workers and employees.
    America or Europe could be one of the best places to live of which I have my reservations about though, as most extremely privileged citizens of these countries never had an iota of what it means to be really happy and fulfilled living on less that $1 US dollars a day, while in the US and Europe, people commits suicide for very known causative stupid things like drug usage, While elsewhere in Africa for example where I was educated and brought up to traditionally and culturally know the differences between Rights from Wrongs, people still live very happily as if they’ve got all the gold’s and diamond’s on the planet – “except in African countries where western greed brought them Wars and famines” – Yet, in America some very fortunate people think it’s the end of the world for them or they’ve got it all, and the very best way to be happy is using drugs, cocaine, amphetamine, alcohol and other stimulants. I see these people as being the most stupid people in the world, a poor street beggar is far more intelligent than these type of unknowingly very fortunate people.
    If you find yourself in these category of a person, please endeavor to take a trip to the much taunted third world countries, where a whole family lives on less that US $500 US dollars a month, and yet, they’re extremely very happy and content with what they have, how they live, what they eat, the friends they have, and the environment in which they live, compared to your very modern privileged environment in the US or Europe, with all the modern technologies and even your government at your becks and calls.
    Drugs has got one end result, it’s slow and painful untimely death, others will spend your money, others will take your wife or husbands, your children will be left without sincere fatherly or motherly directions, your properties which you’ve worked so hard for will be mismanaged and ruined by others who cared less who much you’d worked to achieved all those, why, because you were so stupid to have taken to drugs thinking that’s the best way to be happy.
    My advice for the likes of Whitney ,Emmy Wine-house , and Jackson to mention but a few, if indeed you feel within you, you’re not fulfilled, privileged, very unhappy, please take a trip to some other countries around the world, and observe as how those people without all you have, are still much more happy and well, compared to your in-satisfaction, now you decide if you’re indeed blessed or cursed by whoever you believed is your creator, religion of which I don’t want to go into can be very determinant and helpful too in this situation, but a society without cultures and traditions and tradition and yet hype on the liberty of everything, isn’t indeed ready to face the reality of the greatest risk of opening the door of drug usages as a gate-way to personal fulfillment, happiness and eternal satisfaction.

    R.I.P Whitney Houston.

    February 13, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  13. Mike

    I'm sorry to have to say this because I was a huge admirer. She was stunningly beautiful with an incredibel voice. However, she was never a role model. She wasted a God given talent on drugs!! No one wants to say it but we all know drugs played a role. If not on the day she died then it was years of abuse that finally caught up with her. Lets miss the talent of 15 years ago but lets not sugarcoat the fact that she will be another Hendrix, Cobain, Elvis, etc.

    RIP Whitney – I hope you're resting confortably!

    February 13, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jenny Medlar

    As a patient at a pain management facility, my doctor would never prescribe pills I didn't need. There are drug screenings going on constantly there. It really upsets me that there are doctors out there prescribing pills to people when it is not necessary. I see it go on at others doctors. It needs to stop.

    February 13, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Renee

    Why is there talk about close friends to Ms Houston yet no one step up and confront her, show genuine concern for her behavior and TRULY be a friend to her? How close of a friend is Miss Nicci Gilbert to Ms. Houston? Where was Ms. Houston "paid" body guards during the time she was in her room getting dress?The clip that's being circulated of a interview with Mr. Clive Davis, Ms Brandy and Mrs. Monica which Ms Houston interrupted is questionable as to why they did not exercise extreme interest in her behavior?

    February 17, 2012 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
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