For many it came as no surprise when eighties pop queen Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room at the Beverly Hills Hilton on the eve of her appearance at the Grammy Awards on February 11, 2012, following years of very public substance abuse.
At the time there was much speculation as to the cause of the 48-year-old’s death and some sources claimed she overdosed on a cocktail of Xanax, variousprescription drugs and alcohol that led to her drowning in the bath.
The official cause of death, as stated by a coroner, was ‘accidental drowning’ but the circumstances leading to that ‘accident’ have never truly been discussed.
Many Whitney Houston fans directed anger and blame at her ex-husband, Bobby Brown, whom they felt was the driving force behind her slow and sad demise. Houston herself admitted to using cannabis long before she met the former New Editionsinger but his arrival in her life coincided with a march down the path of drug dependency, violence and substance abuse which culminated in their divorce.
On the night of her death, Brown was performing with New Edition, and he told the sell out crowd, “First of all, I want to tell you that I love you all. Second, I would like to say, I love you Whitney. The hardest thing for me to do is to come on this stage.”
Born August 9th, 1963, Whitney Houston emerged as a bright talent in the 80s with her eponymous début album which included long standing classics, “Saving All My Love”, “ How Will I Know” and “Greatest Love of All”.
Her success could have been attributed to her family ties which included major soul stars such as her mother Cissy Houston, aunty Dionne Warwick and her godmother Aretha Franklin – no shortage of stars there – so when she was acknowledged as a rising star at age 15 after her backing vocal performance on Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman” it came as no real surprise to see her scale the charts in her own rights.
Whitney was the kind of woman who lived for her music, shone brightly and didn’t crave the same kind of media attention as music industry canvasses such as Madonna and more recently Lady Gaga, until she fell victim to the excesses and trappings that so often come with success.