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Whitney Houston Dead at 48; Tribute Set for Grammys Tonight at 8 on CBS

Whitney Houston, the pop singer, has died on the eve of the Grammy awards.

Whitney Houston, the pop singer, has died on the eve of the Grammy awards.

Her death came on the eve of the annual music awards. Houston, 48, had a history of drug problems.

"At 3:55 p.m. Whitney Houston was pronounced dead at the Beverly Hilton Hotel," said a spokesman for the Beverly Hills police.

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He said police were called to the hotel to the fourth floor to help Houston, but attempts to resuscitate the singer were unsuccessful. He said no cause of death was immediately available.

Houston was in Los Angeles for a party that producer Clive Davis holds every year on the eve of the Grammys. She was seen a couple of days ago stumbling from a nightclub in Hollywood, with blood trickling down her leg.

Houston, a prodigious talent with unique power, color and range in her voice at its height, was one of the most successful pop singers in modern music history. She was the most awarded female singer of all time, winning six Grammy Awards in her career, two Emmys and 22 American Music Awards.

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Neil Portnow, the CEO of the Recording Academy, which hosts the Grammys, issued a statement calling Houston "one of the world's greatest pop singers of all time… Her powerful voice graced many memorable and award-winning songs. A light has been dimmed in our music community today, and we extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends, fans and all who have been touched by her beautiful voice."

In her career, Houston sold over 170 million albums and singles worldwide, with many hit singles. Her lead single, “I Will Always Love You,” became the best-selling album by a female artist in music history.

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She was last in rehabilitation in May of last year, said Drew Pinsky on CNN.

Houston had just completed a role in a musical titled "Sparkle," in which she played the mother to Jordin Sparks, who played a singer. The Sony movie is slated for an August, 2012 release. The film is the story of three sisters who form a successful singing group and deal with the fallout of fame and drugs.

The studio issued a statement to TheWrap that said: "Like all those who knew and loved her, we are shocked and saddened and the world has lost an incomparable talent. Right now our thoughts are with her daughter, her family and her friends."

Houston was born to a middle-class family in Newark, New Jersy. Her father John Russell Houston, Jr. was an entertainment executive, while her mother Cissy Houston, was a gospel singer.

Houston’s cousins were the R&B singers Dee Dee Warwick and Dionne Warwick. Her godmother was soul legend Aretha Franklin.

Houston’s started singing on stage with her mother before becoming a backup singer for the Michael Zager Band and Chaka Khan.

From music, Houston veered briefly into modelling, appearing in the magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Seventeen.

It was Arista chief Davis, however, who gave Houston her big break. Under the label, Houston released 1985’s “Whitney Houston” and watched it climb to the top of the charts on the strength of singles such as “Greatest Love of All” and “Saving All My Love For You.”

Houston’s follow-up “Whitney” was not a critical success, but its strong sales solidified her position in the music industry. It also spurred one of her signature songs “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me).”

Released in coordination with the 1988 Summer Olympics, "One Moment in Time" was a near ubiquitous presence on NBC, the network broadcasting the games, and rose to become a Top 5 hit in the United States. 

Houston's first acting role was as the star of the feature film The Bodyguard in 1992, in which she costarred with Kevin Costner.

 Playing a pop diva who is stalked by a crazy fan, Houston was given plenty of opportunities to showcase her vocal prowess. Her rendition of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” helped make the film’s soundtrack a massive hit, selling 44 million copies. The movie soundtrack won the 1994 Grammy for Album of the Year.

Though her performance was decried by critics and the film was largely panned, “The Bodyguard” grossed over $400 million worldwide and showcased Houston at the pinnacle of her success. 

More movie offers beckoned and Houston followed with the hit “Waiting to Exhale,” an adaptation of Terry McMillan’s best-selling novel, and the commercial disappointment “The Preacher’s Wife,” which paired her with Denzel Washington. Although they failed to match the sales of “The Bodyguard,” the soundtrack albums to both films leaned heavily on Houston’s vocals and sold briskly.  

She is the only artist to chart seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits: "Saving All My Love for You", "How Will I Know", "Greatest Love of All", "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)", "Didn't We Almost Have It All", "So Emotional", and "Where Do Broken Hearts Go".

Here is a video of Houston singing her hit, "I Will Always Love You," in the 1980s.