According to the Associated Press, Houston's publicist, Kristen Foster, said the singer passed away on Saturday (Feb. 11) but didn't explain how she died or the location of her death.
TMZ reports that Houston was staying at the Beverly Hilton hotel when security called 911. When paramedics arrived Houston was found unresponsive. According to TMZ's sources, paramedics tried CPR on her but were unsuccessful in reviving her and she was pronounced dead at the scene at 3:55PM PT.
"I am absolutely heartbroken at the news of Whitney's passing," said Quincy Jones said in a statement. "Ashford & Simpson first made me aware of Whitney when she was just sixteen, and I always regretted not having had the opportunity to work with her. She was a true original and a talent beyond compare. I will miss her terribly."
News of Houston's death came on the eve of the Grammy Awards and hours before her longtime mentor and friend Clive Davis was to hold his annual pre-Grammy party.
But none of that matters now. We have truly lost an icon in pop, R&B and soul music. When Houston burst onto the scene in the late '80s, she was the total package: She was a model-esque singer with a beautiful voice who had no limitations to her vocal talent.
Houston came from a very strong pedigree of singers. She was the daughter of gospel veteran Cissy Houston, the cousin of 'Walk on By' singer Dionne Warwick and the goddaughter of the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin. So singing and performing was simply in her blood.
Houston made her album debut in 1985 with Whitney Houston, which boasted the Quiet Storm staple "Saving All My Love for You" and the endearing "The Greatest Love of All." She followed that with her second LP Whitney in 1987, which included hits like "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" and "Didn't We Almost Have It All." In her career, Houston released seven albums and sold over 170 million copies all together worldwide.
Not only did Houston conquered music, but she also reigned in films, as well. She made her acting debut in the 1992 flick The Bodyguard opposite Kevin Coster. The accompanying soundtrack featured the chart-topping single "I Will Always Love You," which is probably the most-remade and revered song in Houston's discography. "I Will Always Love You" won Record of the Year at the 1994 Grammy Awards and Best Female Pop Vocal, while the Bodyguard soundtrack won for Album of the Year.
Houston continued her acting career starring in such movies as Waiting to Exhale, The Preacher's Wife (with Denzel Washington) and she just finished production on the remake of 1976 film Sparkle.
Outside of music, Houston's personal life was examined heavily by the media. The singer's drug usage were well-documented and she once admitted to using cocaine and marijuana on Oprah Winfrey's daytime talk show. Her marriage to New Edition crooner Bobby Brown was also fodder for the tabloids. From their union, they had one child, Bobbi Kristina. The couple would later divorce in 2007.
Among Houston's career-long accolades include 6 Grammy Awards, 2 Emmy Awards and over two dozen American Music Awards.
Whitney Houston was one of a kind. A voice that will never been duplicated, ever. Sadly, her soulful voice is now silenced.
Rest in Peace, Whitney Houston.
Thank you for blessing us with your God-given talent.
You will never be forgotten.
Songwriter Hallerin Hilton Hill, who co-wrote the song "Who Would Imagine A King", which was performed by Houston for the movie The Preacher's Wife, shares his thoughts on Whitney Houston's legacy.