Houston autopsy: Assistant found her face-down in tub
April 4th, 2012
05:44 PM ET

Houston autopsy: Assistant found her face-down in tub

The full autopsy report on the death of Whitney Houston said the singer was found by an assistant "lying face down in the bathtub filled with water."

The Los Angeles County coroner ruled Houston's February 11 death an accidental drowning, the "effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use" as contributing factors, according to an initial autopsy report released last month.

Houston, 48, was found submerged in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton, where she was a guest the weekend of the Grammy Awards. The report includes details on the amount of cocaine and other drugs in her body at the time of her death.

Authorities had said that police and fire officials were called to Houston's room at the Beverly Hilton after her unconscious body was found in the bathtub, just hours before she was to attend a pre-Grammy party at the hotel.

Houston won six Grammys and sold 170 million albums, singles and videos over her career.

In recent years, the singer's accomplishments were overtaken by her struggles with drug addiction.

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Filed under: Music • Showbiz • Whitney Houston
March 22nd, 2012
09:51 PM ET

CNN prime time: Houston autopsy results, Gingrich fires at De Niro


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Benjamin Jealous talks about why the Trayvon Martin case transcends the scene of the crime.


Houston cause of death determined

CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta and HLN's Dr. Drew explain the coroner's findings regarding Whitney Houston's death.


Gingrich: De Niro joke 'wrong'

GOP candidate Newt Gingrich responds to Robert De Niro's controversial "white first lady" joke.

Coroner: Houston drowned after cocaine use
Whitney Houston performs at the O2 Arena on April 25, 2010, in London.
March 22nd, 2012
05:24 PM ET

Coroner: Houston drowned after cocaine use

Whitney Houston died from an accidental drowning in a hotel bathtub, but the "effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use" were contributing factors in her death, the Los Angeles County Coroner said in an autopsy report released Thursday.

Houston, 48, was "found submerged in bathtub filled with water" and "no trauma or foul play is suspected," the coroner said.

The toxicology tests found other drugs in her body, including marijuana, the anti-anxiety drug Xanax, the muscle relaxant Flexeril and the allergy medicine Benadryl, the report said. But these drugs "did not contribute to the death," it said.

The final coroner report is expected to be made public within two weeks, the coroner said.

Houston died February 11 in her room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, the day before the music industry gathered for the annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.

February 19th, 2012
02:39 AM ET

Whitney Houston's journey 'home' ends with a private burial

Whitney Houston's journey "home" ends with a private burial in New Jersey on Sunday as questions persist about what caused the superstar's death.

Houston will be buried next to her father at Fairview Cemetery in Westfield, south of Newark.

Her burial brings an end to her "coming home," as her family has dubbed the invitation-only memorial service held a day earlier at her childhood church in Newark.

The family-only burial is in contrast to the emotionally-charged, star-studded memorial service held at New Hope Baptist Church, where Houston, nicknamed "Nippy," was soloing in the junior choir by age 11.

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Filed under: Celebrity • Showbiz • U.S. • Whitney Houston • World
February 18th, 2012
11:27 AM ET

Live blog: Remembering Whitney, a homegoing service

On February 11, Whitney Houston was found lifeless in her Beverly Hilton suite. Her death, on the eve of the Grammys, has dominated the news the way her music dominated the charts. Where were you this week if you didn't hear the thump of a single drum beat and then, "And, I-eeeeyeee–will always looooooveeee youuuuu"?

You were not on this planet, for sure. If you are somewhere still in space, you're not aware of the massive outpouring of grief and goodbyes Saturday at New Hope Baptist Church in New Jersey at the legendary singer's funeral. The service was streamed on the Web and broadcast live on television. Join the conversation #whitneycnn or watch CNN Presents "Death of a Diva" at 8 p.m. ET tonight.

[Update 4 p.m. ET] The service has ended. A hearse carrying Whitney's body is making its way along the streets of Newark where the 48-year-old grew up.

[Update 3:41 p.m. ET] The service is wrapping up. Her casket is being carried down the aisle. There is a single voice filling the church. It's Whitney's. The opening line to "I Will Always Love You" plays. We defy anyone to not cry right now. As the mourners exit, some who appear to be family are having trouble walking. You can hear someone weeping hard.

Outside the church, there isn't a horde of fans. The media has been kept at a distance. The street is blocked off. The gold casket is being loaded into a hearse. Whitney is scheduled to be buried nearby on Sunday at Fairview Cemetery in Westfield, New Jersey. It feels like we've just seen an intimate service as the family wanted, not a celebrity spectacle.

[Update 3:26 p.m. ET] Marvin Winans wasn't lying when he said he wasn't about to give a speech. He was just going to preach. And he's giving us a true, animated sermon. "God had a purpose before he ever created a person," he said. Winans is keeping faith with what we heard at the start. This was going to be a service and a celebration of Whitney, not a concert. Winans is sweating. His voice is up and down octaves, dipping and rising and rough with emotion.

"When I get in the middle of the valley, that's not the time to leave my faith," Winans said. "If God has me in the middle of a sunny afternoon, then he has to have me in the middle of a dark night." Those are undoubtedly comforting words to the people listening who are hurting.

Iconic filmmaker Spike Lee, who attended the service, tweeted: "Stevie Wonder Sang To Whitney In Heaven With "LOVE'S IN NEED OF LOVE TODAY. May Her Soul Rest In Peace In Our Father's Kingdom."

[Update 3:15 p.m. ET] By this time, the service has lasted for more than three hours. Gospel giant Marvin Winans is once again at the pulpit. He praises New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for ordering that flags around Whitney's home state be flown at half-staff.

Songstress Estelle has tweeted: "My GOD the Winans I remember "Tomorrow" growing up. Perfect send off."

[Update 3:06 p.m. ET] Carvin and Marvin Winans are singing their song, "Tomorrow," which Whitney, or as they recalled, "Nippy," used to sing. Marvin said that's how they met Whitney, because they were signed in the 1980s to the same talent agency and learned she was singing it. When Carvin heard that, he tried night and day to get in touch with the rising superstar. Carvin sings while his brother plays the piano. The Winans were a popular gospel group from Detroit.

[Update 2:54 p.m. ET] Rickey Minor, Whitney Houston's musical director, is saying that he believes God sent her to him. He jokes that he loved Whitney, not because of her 5 foot 10 height, or her cocoa brown skin, the way she wore those elegant gowns or because she could sing. He loved her because she was Whitney. She was special.

[Update 2:46 p.m. ET] Mourners behind Dionne Warwick are wiping tears as Whitney's cousin talks about how full her life was with "Nippy's" friendship and love. Nippy was Whitney's nickname. CeCe Winans is up next, singing "Don't Cry for Me." The song was written by her brother Bebe Winans. Here's Whitney singing the song awhile ago.

Meanwhile we've confirmed that Bobby Brown arrived with about nine people and wanted them to all sit together. He couldn't be accommodated and left. People are tweeting that people should keep in mind how much Brown has lost and to be kind.

[Update 2:42 p.m. ET] R&B singer R. Kelly is singing "I look to you."

[Update 2:39 p.m. ET] After Stevie brought everyone to their feet, Pat Houston makes her way to the front. She is Whitney's sister-in-law and manager. "She was one with a charmed and beautiful life, a life [sometimes] misunderstood," she said. Houston talked about the way the superstar was perceived negatively by some. None of that mattered, she said.

"In the final analysis it was always between her and God," Houston said. "It was never between her and the world, anyway."

We're getting word that Jennifer Hudson, who did a fantastic tribute to Whitney at the Grammys, is in the audience, along with Lela Rochon, an actress who co-starred with Whitney in "Waiting to Exhale."

As Pat Houston speaks, we're reminded that there are superstars in the church, but they were just friends to Whitney and her family.

[Update 2:30 p.m. ET] Bobby Brown has reportedly left the church. There are reports that Brown had a large entourage he wanted to bring in and be seated with but he couldn't be accommodated and left.

[Update 2:10 p.m. ET] Stevie Wonder is at the piano, singing and telling everyone, "We loved her so much." Breaking the sadness for a moment, Stevie admits that he "had a little crush on Whitney." He's launching into "Ribbon in the Sky," personalizing the lyrics by singing, "One day in 1963 we were blessed so incredibly with this voice..."

We can only imagine how emotional the audience in the church is. We know from Twitter and Facebook that everyone watching it from afar is incredibly moved. One of Whitney's Facebook fan pages is filled with comments. "Thanks to the Houston Family for sharing with us this moment, for letting us be part of that family..." one poster wrote.

[Update 2:01 p.m. ET] Ray Watson, Whitney's bodyguard, is at the pulpit. He's wearing a suit and dark sunglasses. Watson is telling a funny story about her wanting to drive them on a long trip. He was mystified about why she wanted to do that rather than fly. He's getting laughs as he explains that he was afraid of flat tires and service stations because he was protecting an icon. On their trip, he said he told her not to get out of the car when they stopped. Then, he returned to their last moments together. When he learned that she died, his world collapsed. "I lost a friend, a boss, but her spirit came to me and said, 'You are free.' In those 11 years, I was by her side," he said.

[Update 1:58 p.m. ET] Bobby Brown has left the service, according to CNN's Don Lemon, who spoke with police at the church.

[Update 1:47 p.m. ET] Dionne Warwick, Whitney's cousin and a heavyweight in the music industry, is introducing the speakers. She introduces Clive Davis. The music mogul put Whitney on the road to stardom. "You wait for a voice like that ... a smile like that ... a presence like that," he said, recalling in 1983 the first time he heard Whitney. Her voice "shattered" him. Davis said he and Whitney were hanging out in his suite at the Beverly Hilton last Tuesday, and he was struck, when she was applying a bit of makeup, how beautiful she still was.

He tells Whitney's daughter Bobbi Kristina, "Your mother loved you so much. Always be proud of your mother." We haven't seen the 18-year-old yet.

Have you learned anything new about Whitney? @CNNShowbiz is getting so many messages from people loving the personal stories they're hearing.

[Update 1:34 p.m. ET] Alicia Keys is crying as she sits at her piano. Her eyes are a deep red. She tells everyone that Whitney "crept into everyone's heart." Whitney would call for no reason at all, just to say hi, Keys says. "She made us feel strong and loved and capable," Keys said, recalling how Whitney mentored her and other young artists.

How many people out there have had to break out the Kleenex? Send us an iReport.

Costner is trending on Twitter. A lot of people feel moved by what he said. Kelley Carter tweeted, "Costner for the win!"

[Update 1:29 p.m. ET] Costner tells everyone about the insecure moments Whitney had, those times few people saw, when despite her fame she wondered if she was good enough. He joked about a makeup snafu on set, and times in which he was surprised that she had doubts about playing the iconic "Bodyguard" role of Rachel Marron. He asked the famous people in the crowd if they knew what he was talking about. He's had those moments, too, he said, the shared burden of fame. Everyone is on their feet, clapping for Costner when he finishes.

[Update 1:16 p.m. ET] "This feels right," Kevin Costner says, referring to the feeling of love in the church. He promises to tell some stories. Costner explains that "I Will Always Love You" wasn't the first choice as the main song on "The Bodyguard" soundtrack. He goes on to say that though it might not be obvious, he and Whitney had a lot in common. They both grew up in a Baptist church. This elicits a warm response from the crowd as they clap and laugh. Costner also says when "The Bodyguard" was being cast, there were concerns from movie industry insiders that it would be too controversial to pair a black woman with a white man in a love story on screen. He gave that some thought, he said, and then fought harder for her to get the role. She was at the prime of her career. Rachel Marron was Whitney Houston.


This Week's Top Videos
February 17th, 2012
01:00 PM ET

This Week's Top Videos

Editor's Note: This post is a recap of the top five videos on CNN.com from the past week. So in case you didn't catch our best videos during the week, here is your chance to see what you missed.

This week was filled with several major events. The untimely death of singer Whitney Houston has undoubtedly been a story that shocked many and continues to develop. Several other videos that captivated the CNN.com audience, too. Check out this week's most popular clips.


The death of Whitney Houston

Police say so far there are no signs of foul play in Houston's death. She was 48.


Adele's controversial Vogue cover photo

Fans comment that Vogue's cover photo of Adele doesn't give a true picture of her size.


Woman dies in waste-filled home

Police in Illinois find a woman dead under a mound of trash at her home. WBBM reports.


Randy Travis's public intoxication arrest

Police have released video of country star Randy Travis being arrested for allegedly being drunk in public.


Who is Whitney Houston's daughter?

A closer look at Bobbi Kristina Brown, the daughter of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown. CNN's Tom Foreman reports.

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Filed under: Celebrity • Crime • Justice • Most Popular • Music • Obituary • Uncategorized • Whitney Houston
February 16th, 2012
11:34 AM ET

Houston funeral preparations under way at New Jersey church

Preparations were under way Thursday for the private, invitation-only funeral of pop superstar Whitney Houston at the New Jersey church where she sang as a child.

Metal barricades were being erected around a tribute area in front of New Hope Baptist Church, where fans of Houston were leaving balloons, candles and photographs of the singer.

Inside, funeral directors met with members of the Newark, New Jersey, police, who will provide security for the event, said police Sgt. Ronald Glover.

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Filed under: New Jersey • Whitney Houston
February 14th, 2012
09:48 PM ET

CNN Prime Time: Valentine's Day alternatives, Houston money woes?


Children trained for suicide attacks

Two children have been rearrested in Afghanistan for being prospective suicide bombers, CNN's Barbara Starr reports.


Did Whitney have financial problems?

A panel of experts discusses whether or not Whitney Houston was struggling financially at the time of her death.


The RidicuList: Valentine's Day

CNN's Anderson Cooper adds Valentine's Day to the RidicuList and offers up some cheap alternatives.

Whitney Houston's funeral at Newark's New Hope Baptist Church on Saturday
Whitney Houston sings at the 2009 American Music Awards.
February 14th, 2012
10:17 AM ET

Whitney Houston's funeral at Newark's New Hope Baptist Church on Saturday

Whitney Houston's funeral will be held at noon on Saturday at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, according to Carolyn Whigham, the owner of the Whigham Funeral Home.

The body of pop superstar Whitney Houston arrived late Monday at the New Jersey funeral home handling her arrangements, borne by a hearse and escorted by police.

The body arrived at Teterboro Airport and was taken to Whigham Funeral Home in Newark. A large crowd was gathered at the funeral home. Cissy Houston, the singer's mother, was waiting inside, police said.

Overheard on CNN.com: What can we learn from Whitney Houston's life, death?
The death of Whitney Houston, pictured at the American Music Awards in 2009, has provoked a strong reaction among readers.
February 13th, 2012
02:38 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: What can we learn from Whitney Houston's life, death?

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Celine Dion is facing criticism after saying drug use "took over" Whitney Houston's life. Many tore into Dion via Twitter after her "Good Morning America" interview Monday discussing Houston's death. Nevertheless, Dion got lots of support from our readers. Many commenters said Houston made poor decisions in her life, regardless of their feelings about her work as an artist. We've highlighted a few of their remarks. What do you think?

Celine Dion on Houston: Drugs took over her dreams

Several readers said they believe Dion's assessment was correct.

bluegrassbiscuit: "A fan of Whitney here; however, I agree with Celine. It's sad and unfortunate. When will people learn? We say these people are our idols and they influence us to do great things, become a singer, reach for our goals, etc. Then why can't, when something like this happens, we get influenced to not fall into drugs and alcohol? It should work both ways. ..."

Rose: "Drug and alcohol abuse can still kill you even if you get clean and stay clean for years. It causes a lot of damage to your organs that can cause an early death. I hope that she had not fallen back into substance abuse."

But others noted celebrities often get what they want, even when it hurts.

Louisa: "I'm still so sad over her death, but how could anyone get to her? When you have money and bodyguards and people that will tell you anything you want to hear, how could anyone get close enough to help? Same with Michael (Jackson). He could afford doctors to give him what he wanted, and if they didn't, then he got someone else. We have lost some true talents."

There were a lot of personal stories about the consequences of substance abuse. FULL POST

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Filed under: Celebrity • Health • Music • Overheard on CNN.com • Showbiz • Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston remembered
Fans lay flowers and personal messages to singer Whitney Houston around Harlem's Apollo Theatre.
February 13th, 2012
11:50 AM ET

Whitney Houston remembered

The death of singer Whitney Houston shocked many, and the outpouring of love for her has been memorable. Her fame as an artist, actress and model are well documented, but perhaps it is the touching stories by those closest to her that remind us of who she was as a person. The following clips move beyond the star, reminding us that underneath the glitz was a mother, daughter and friend.


Whitney Houston's death 'surreal'

Gospel singer Kim Burrell reflects on her friendship with Whitney Houston, remembering her as a "wonderful spirit."


Davis: I'm devastated by loss of Whitney

During his annual pre-Grammy party, Clive Davis joined with other artists to speak about the loss of Whitney Houston.


Bobby Brown: Pray for me

IReporter Moshiu Knox captures video of Bobby Brown on stage asking for prayers the night Whitney Houston died.

For more reaction to Whitney Houston’s death, head to CNN’s collection featuring reaction from fans, artists and critics around the globe.


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Filed under: Music • Showbiz • Uncategorized • Whitney Houston
February 13th, 2012
07:53 AM ET

Whitney Houston: What we know, what questions remain

Singer Kelly Price told CNN on Monday that she performed an impromptu duet with Whitney Houston at a party two days before Houston's death.

"She did not seem disheveled. She was dancing, she was laughing. ... We were having a good time," said Price said of the party two days before the Grammys. "What I saw on Thursday night was not erratic behavior. I didn't see someone who was high."

Friend: Whitney was 'joyful and upbeat'

Beverly Hills police have requested a "security hold" on the coroner's report, a common practice in high-profile cases that limits what can be revealed about a probe while it is ongoing.

Speaking to reporters Monday, Ed Winter, assistant chief of the Los Angeles county coroner's office, refused to speculate on a cause of death, saying testing is ongoing. Winter on Sunday said no additional details, including what was discovered in Whitney Houston's room, would be released.

Speaking to Rolling Stone, singer Tony Bennett, who won two Grammys Sunday night, recalled to Rolling Stone the first time he heard Houston's voice. "I called Clive Davis up," he said of the record label boss who discovered Houston. "And I said, 'Clive, that's the best singer I ever heard in my life. You really got something on your hands.' Sure enough, at the beginning she was singing everything so beautiful.

A source close to Houston, however, told CNN Monday that her body will be flown to her native New Jersey, and a funeral service will be held there Friday or Saturday.


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Filed under: Music • U.S. • Whitney Houston
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


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Filed under: Music • Showbiz • Whitney Houston
February 12th, 2012
05:33 AM ET

Fans: Whitney Houston's music spanned an era, breaking barriers and records

Another musical titan whose soaring voice ruled the charts for decades has fallen.
Whitney Houston joins an august list of the departed since Michael Jackson's death nearly three years ago.
"First there was MJ, then there was Heavy D and now Whitney,"  said Shaun Jones, 47, of  Titusville, Florida, adding that he jumped out of bed in disbelief when he heard news of Houston's death.
Rapper Heavy D died last year, as did Nick Ashford, who was one half of the Motown duo Ashford and Simpson.
And in late 2010, singer Mary Christine Brockert, better known by her stage name Teena Marie, died in her sleep.
"It's shocking ...  all these people are legends. A lot of them are dying too young. It's crazy."
Pop icons such as Houston enjoyed  staggering success through the 1980s and into the 1990s, and served as role models to a generation of singers today.

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Filed under: Music • U.S. • Whitney Houston • World
Fans, celebrities react to Whitney Houston's death: 'We will always love you'
February 11th, 2012
08:53 PM ET

Fans, celebrities react to Whitney Houston's death: 'We will always love you'

Legendary pop singer Whitney Houston has died at age 48, representative Kristen Foster said Saturday night.

The cause of death and where she died were not immediately known. In May 2011, Houston got help for her much-publicized struggle with drugs and alcohol, her representative said at the time.

According to her official website, Houston, who struggled with addiction problems over the years, sold more than 170 million albums, singles and videos over her career.

As news of her death spread online her fans and celebrities tweeted that they were absolutely shocked and saddened at the news.

iReport: Share your memories 

Tributes began flooding in almost immediately as people began expressing their shock at the news. Nearly all of the trends on Twitter worldwide were shortly associated with the singer's death. Among them: R.I.P Whitney Houston, #DearWhitney, #IWillAlwaysLoveYou, The Bodyguard, Bobby Brown and Wanna Dance With Somebody.

"The first full hour after the news broke saw 2,481,652 tweets and retweets, peaking at 61,227 tweets at 5:23 p.m. (all times are PST)," according to Topsy.com. "That is over a thousand tweets a second, not quite as much as during the Superbowl but still a lot."

Whitney Houston is shown trending around the entire globe Saturday night after news of her death.

Houston had been in Los Angeles and Grammy rehearsal parties were taking place one night before the music industry's biggest event. Stunned celebrities heard about the news all together.

Mariah Carey, who famously performed a duet with Houston on "When You Believe" was stunned by the news.

[tweet https://twitter.com/MariahCarey/status/168506210436399104%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/MariahCarey/status/168506516259880962%5D

LaToya Jackson also took to Twitter to express her condolences to Houston's family. She and the rest of her family have gone through the turmoil of dealing with the sudden death of the King of Pop Michael Jackson.

[tweet https://twitter.com/latoyajackson/status/168506059063959552%5D

The news of Houston's death brought many people back to their childhood and reminisced on all of the ways Houston's music had entered their lives. Whether it was their love of a literal soundtrack, like "The Bodyguard," or the songs that were so embedded into their  souls that ie became soundtrack to their lives, fans shared their sadness at the loss.

[tweet https://twitter.com/MotherJustice/status/168517868940558337%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/therealstylesp/status/168515223714660352%5D

Many also wanted to share their favorite memories of Whitney Houston, sparking the trend #FavoriteWhitneySong.

#FavoriteWhitneySong: What's yours?

[tweet https://twitter.com/AimieRocks/status/168517490119426048%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/rogergzz/status/168511169433321475%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/grantgust/status/168509210982752258%5D

For some fellow artists, the news hit at their core. Houston, for them, was not only an icon but also an inspiration for many.

[tweet https://twitter.com/UsherRaymondIV/status/168515058215825409%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/KeriHilson/status/168507324711968768%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/alexandramusic/status/168503782471241728%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/rihanna/status/168512513795817472%5D


April 7th, 2010
11:06 AM ET

Whitney Houston postpones start of European tour

Illness forced Whitney Houston to postpone the first four shows of the European leg of her "Nothing But Love" comeback tour, her publicist said Wednesday.


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