American singer, actress, producer, and model, the famous Whitney Houston died on February 11, 2012 after she was found unconscious in Suite 434 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, submerged in the bathtub.
Beverly Hills paramedics arrived at approximately 3:30 p.m. and found the singer unresponsive and performed CPR. Houston was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m. PST.
The cause of death was not immediately known. Local police said there were “no obvious signs of criminal intent”. On March 22, 2012, the Los Angeles County coroner’s office reported the cause of Houston’s death was drowning and the “effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use”.
The office stated the amount of cocaine found in Houston’s body indicated that she used the substance shortly before her death.
Toxicology results revealed additional drugs in her system: diphenhydramine, alprazolam, cannabis and cyclobenzaprine.
Houston is the only artist to chart seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits.
She is the second artist behind Elton John and the only woman to have two number-one Billboard 200 Album awards (formerly “Top Pop Albums”) on the Billboard magazine year-end charts.
Houston’s 1985 debut album Whitney Houston became the best-selling debut album by a woman in history.
Rolling Stone named it the best album of 1986, and ranked it at number 254 on the magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Her second studio album Whitney (1987) became the first album by a woman to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
Born on August 9, 1963 in what was then a middle-income neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey.
She was the daughter of Army serviceman and entertainment executive John Russell Houston, Jr. (September 13, 1920 – February 2, 2003), and gospel singer Emily “Cissy” (Drinkard) Houston.
Her elder brother Michael is a singer, and her elder half-brother is former basketball player Gary Garland.
Her parents were both African American, and she was also said to have Native American and Dutch ancestry. Through her mother, Houston was a first cousin of singers Dionne Warwick and Dee Dee Warwick.
Her godmother was Darlene Love and her honorary aunt was Aretha Franklin, whom she met at age 8 or 9 when her mother took her to a recording studio. Houston was raised a Baptist, but was also exposed to the Pentecostal church.
Houston moved to the small screen in 1997, producing and playing the Fairy Godmother to Brandy’s Cinderella in a Wonderful World of Disney remake of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella.
In 1998, she released her first studio album since 1990. My Love Is Your Love (Number 13) was an uncharacteristic move.
Aside from a handful of ballads, including her Oscar-winning duet with fellow diva Mariah Carey, “When You Believe” (Number 15, 1998), from The Prince of Egypt, and the Diane Warrenˆpenned torch song “I Learned From the Best” (Number 13 R&B, 1999), the album showcased a new, savvy street savvy that had previously come through only in her later interviews and her private life with Brown.
Hip-hop personalities and producers such as Wyclef Jean, Lauryn Hill, Rodney Jerkins, Missy Elliott, and Faith Evans collaborated with the vocalist on various tracks.
In spring of 2004 Houston entered rehab for the first time; later that year; she toured as part of the Soul Divas along with her cousin Dionne Warwick and Natalie Cole.
That September, Houston received a standing ovation when she sang a tribute to Davis at the World Music Awards.
She and Davis subsequently announced they would be working together on a new album. Houston returned to rehab in 2005 and the following year filed for divorce from Brown (after some of the couple’s trails and travails were aired on the MTV reality show “Being Bobby Brown” in 2005).
Houston’s divorce from Brown was finalized in April 2007 with her winning sole custody of the couple’s daughter.