Whitney Houston, the Grammy-winning pop diva and actress whose career was marred in recent years by drug abuse, has died. She was 48.
Houston's rep confirmed her death to TVGuide.com Saturday, but did not offer further details. According to Beverly Hills police, authorities responded to a call to the Beverly Hilton hotel, where Houston was found unconscious. She was declared dead at 3:55 p.m.
Her death comes on the eve of the Grammy Awards, where she has triumphed six times. She was scheduled to appear at Clive Davis' pre-Grammys party Saturday night.
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Known as "The Voice," Houston, a New Jersey native, daughter of gospel singer Cissy Houston and cousin of Dionne Warwick, rose to fame in the mid-'80s with her powerful vocals. Her eponymous debut album spent 14 weeks atop the Billboard chart, which at the time was a record for a female artist. She won her first Grammy for her hit single "Saving All My Love for You." The album also spawned the classics "How Will I Know" and "Greatest Love of All."
Her 1987 follow-up, Whitney, was the first female album to debut at No. 1 on Billboard. It included the smashes "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" and "Didn't We Almost Have It All."
Houston scored her biggest hit — and signature song — in 1992 with her stirring cover of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You," from the soundtrack of The Bodyguard, in which she made her film debut. The single spent a then-record 14 weeks at the Billboard No. 1. Houston won two Grammys for it, including Record of the Year.
Houston went on to star in Waiting to Exhale and The Preacher's Wife. Both spawned soundtrack albums, and Houston released another studio album, My Love Is Your Love, which earned her another Grammy.
But during all her professional success, Houston was using drugs. She confessed to abusing cocaine, marijuana and pills, and made bizarre public appearances and performances in the past decade while her career and voice rapidly declined.
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In an infamous 2002 interview with Diane Sawyer, she declared "crack is wack" and in a 2010 interview with Oprah Winfrey, she said that she used to do drugs every day. "I would do my work, but after I did my work, for a whole year or two, it was every day," she said. Houston blamed her drug troubles on her tumultuous 15-year marriage to Bobby Brown, which ended in 2007.
Houston tried to stage a comeback in recent years. Her 2009 album, I Look to You, debuted at No. 1, but her disastrous performances derailed any hope. More recently, though, there was hopeful career news. She executive-produced a remake of the 1976 film Sparkle, in which she co-stars with American Idol winner Jordin Sparks. (The film is currently scheduled to be released in August.) Just Friday, there were reports that Houston was being courted to join The X Factor judging panel next season. And in a strange coincidence, it was reported that "I Will Always Love You" will be performed on Tuesday's episode of Glee.
Houston is survived by her 18-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina.