Whitney Houston: 1963-2012

Whitney Houston, the award-winning performer, passed away Saturday at the age of 48.

Kristen Foster, Houston’s publicist, confirmed her death. The cause of death are still unknown.

Houston, the third and youngest daughter of gospel singer, Cissy Houston and Army serviceman and entertainment executive, John Russell Houston Jr., was born on August 9, 1963, in Newark, New Jersey.

Houston was raised and learned to sing from a family full of notable gospel, soul, pop, rhythm and blues genre talents that included her mother, cousins Dionne Warwick and the late Dee Dee Warwick and her godmother Aretha Franklin.

In 1983, at the age of twenty, Houston was discovered singing at a New York nightclub by the renowned music producer, Clive Davis. Later that same year, Houston went on to make her American television debut on “The Merv Griffin Show.”

In 1985, Houston’s released her debut album, “Whitney Houston.” It launched her to international prominence and went on to take the top spot on the Billboard 200 chart for fourteen weeks, and generate three number-one singles—“Saving All My Love For You,” “How Will I Know,” and “Greatest Love of All.”  The album was listed on Rolling Stone magazine’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” and  appears on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Definitive 200 List.

According to Guinness World Records, Houston went on to become the most awarded female act of all time. Her prodigious list of accolades include 30 Billboard Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards, 6 Grammy Awards, and more, part of the incredible total of 415 career awards.

This year Houston was set to make her return to film as Emma in the remake of the 1976 hit movie, “Sparkle,” a period film inspired by The Supremes. The picture followed the turbulent lives and careers of singer Sparkle Williams and her friends. It is scheduled for release later this year.

Houston’s life was filled with turbulence. In January, 2000, airport security discovered marijuana inside the luggage belonging to her and her then- husband, Bobby Brown. While the charges were dropped, rumors of drug use continued to follow the couple.

In 2002, in an interview with Diane Sawyer, Houston answered all the rumors as she admitted to using some drugs, but denied ever using crack.

Houston’s passing comes on the eve of music’s most celebrated night, The Grammy Awards. A great number of artists has acknowledged Houston, arguably the greatest female performer of all time, being a great influence in their lives. This list includes Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Toni Braxton, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson and more.

Houston is survived by her only daughter, Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown.

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