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Whitney Houston, who reigned as pop music's queen until her majestic voice and regal image were ravaged by drug use, died this afternoon. She was 48.
Publicist Kristen Foster said today that the singer had died, but the cause and the location of her death were unclear.
She died at the Beverly Hilton hotel. She was apparently found by her on-off boyfriend Ray J in her hotel room, though other reports dispute that account.
Passed away: Whitney Houston, who has died aged 48, was a huge success for more than two decades
Performance: Throughout the 80s and 90s, Houston was one of the world's most popular singers
Superstar: Houston will long be remembered as one of the standout performers of her generation
A spokesman for the local police department said that emergency services had been called to the hotel at 3.43 this afternoon, arriving minutes later.
Officials rushed to the room on the fourth floor where she was staying as a guest, where they found security staff attempting to revive her.
Life-saving attempts were unsuccessful, and she was pronounced dead at 3.55pm.
Authorities are currently trying to determine a cause of death, according to the spokesman. It was initially unclear whether or not her death was drug-related, as has been speculated by some.
Troubled: Houston looked worse for wear as she left Tru Hollywood nightclub this week
Big voice: Houston's unique vocal ability was one of the hallmarks of her career
Early success: Houston posts with a Grammy award at the annual ceremony in 1988
News of Houston's death came on the eve of music's biggest night - the Grammy Awards.
It's a showcase where she once reigned, and her death was sure to case a heavy pall on Sunday's ceremony.
Houston's longtime mentor Clive Davis was to hold his annual concert and dinner Saturday; it was unclear if it was going to go forward.
It was due to be held at the Beverly Hilton, which is why Houston was staying at the hotel.
At her peak in the 1980s and 90s, Houston was the golden girl of the music industry and one of the world's best-selling artists.
Relationship: Houston's turbulent marriage to singer Bobby Brown was the subject of tabloid gossip for years
Successor: Houston with Mariah Carey, one of the young singers who followed in her wake
Mentor: Clive Davis, left, first discovered Houston singing in a nightclub
She wowed audiences with effortless, powerful, and peerless vocals that were rooted in the black church but made palatable to the masses with a pop sheen.
Among her hits were How Will I Know, Saving All My Love for You and I Will Always Love You. She won multiple Grammys including album and record of the year.
Her success carried her beyond music to movies like The Bodyguard.
But by the end of her career, drug use took its toll as her record sales plummeted and her voice became raspy and hoarse.
With Ray J: Houston was apparently found by her on-off boyfriend, who is himself a singer
Couple: The two stars had a rocky relationship over the last few years
Her image became tarnished by her well-documented troubles, including her turbulent marriage to singer Bobby Brown.
By the end of her career, Houston became a stunning cautionary tale of the toll of drug use. Her album sales plummeted and the hits stopped coming; her once serene image was shattered by a wild demeanor and bizarre public appearances.
She confessed to abusing cocaine, marijuana and pills, and her once pristine voice became raspy and hoarse, unable to hit the high notes as she had during her prime.
'The biggest devil is me. I'm either my best friend or my worst enemy,' Houston told ABC's Diane Sawyer in an infamous 2002 interview with then-husband Brown by her side.
Duet: Houston sings with Jermaine Jackson during rehearsals for a TV performance in 1984
However, she will be remembered not for the troubles she encountered in her last decade, but for her extraordinary voice and star charisma.
Houston was discovered by record label boss Clive Davis, who once said: 'The time that I first saw her singing in her mother's act in a club... it was such a stunning impact.
'To hear this young girl breathe such fire into this song. I mean, it really sent the proverbial tingles up my spine.'
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