Dolly Parton paid tribute to Whitney Houston, the deceased pop diva who catapulted her song “I Will Always Love You” to a global phenomenon, by citing the ballad they both made famous.
“Mine is only one of the millions of hearts broken over the death of Whitney Houston,” Parton said in a statement Saturday. “I will always be grateful and in awe of the wonderful performance she did on my song, and I can truly say from the bottom of my heart, ‘Whitney, I will always love you. You will be missed.’”
Houston died Saturday at the age of 48. The singer had a well-chronicled struggle with substance abuse and drugs.
Also read: Whitney Houston Dead at 48
Parton wrote “I Will Always Love You” in 1973. The song chronicled her split with her collaborator Porter Wagoner. The country star’s version rose to first place on the Billboard Hot Country Songs and was later re-recorded for the soundtrack of her film “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.”
However, it took Houston to make the ballad a true crossover hit. The song was featured prominently in the 1992 film “The Bodyguard,” which marked Houston’s film debut. It would break records to spend 14 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100, and would become perhaps Houston’s best known torch song.
Parton was just one of the many stars paying tribute to Houston after news of the pop star’s death broke this weekend. Mariah Carey, Rihanna and other music legends took to Twitter in the wake of the reports to offer their own statements of grief and remembrances.
Here is a video of Dolly Parton performing "I Will Always Love You":