Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012) was an American recording artist, actress, producer, and model. In 2009, the Guinness World Records cited her as the most-awarded female act of all-time. Houston was also one of the world's best-selling music artists, having sold over 170 million albums, singles and videos worldwide.
With a choir-trained voice of vast power and brilliant tone, Ms. Houston, the winner of six Grammys, was widely recognized as one of the greatest pop vocalists. She was cited as a major influence on such top-selling artists as Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, Mary J. Blige, Boyz II Men and Beyonce, as well as the many “American Idol” contestants who tried to mimic her seemingly infinite vocal range.
Ms. Houston was 22 when her debut album, “Whitney Houston,” was released in 1985. By 1986, it had sold more than 5 million copies, topping sales records set by Tina Turner and Donna Summer.
Houston also enjoyed success acting in blockbuster films such as The Bodyguard and Waiting to Exhale.
Sony Pictures announced on Sunday that it would release the star's final film, Sparkle, which is loosely based on the story of The Supremes, in August.
...as a child, Houston sang in her family's church choir. At 15 she began performing in her mother's nightclub act. While attending a Catholic high school, the lithe beauty signed with a modeling agency and posed for magazines including Glamour and Vogue. After graduating, she continued to model and sing, backing up Lou Rawls and Chaka Khan before Arista president Clive Davis spotted her at a Manhattan showcase.
Whitney Houston was born on Aug. 9, 1963, in Newark. She sang in church, and as a teenager in the 1970s and early 1980s, she worked as a backup studio singer and featured vocalist with acts including Chaka Khan, the Neville Brothers and Bill Laswell’s Material.
Ms. Houston married Mr. Brown in 1992, and in 1993 they had a daughter, Bobbi Kristina, who survives her. Ms. Houston’s 2009 interview with Ms. Winfrey portrayed it as a passionate and then turbulent marriage, marred by drug use and by his professional jealousy, psychological abuse and physical confrontations. They divorced in 2007.
Music historians cite Whitney's record-setting achievements: the only artist to chart seven consecutive #1 Billboard Hot 100 hits ("Saving All My Love For You," "How Will I Know," "Greatest Love Of All," "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)," "Didn't We Almost Have It All," "So Emotional," and "Where Do Broken Hearts Go"); the first female artist to enter the Billboard 200 album chart at #1 (her second album, Whitney, 1987); and the only artist with seven consecutive multi-platinum albums (Whitney Houston, Whitney, I'm Your Baby Tonight, The Bodyguard, Waiting To Exhale, and The Preacher's Wife soundtracks, and My Love Is Your Love).
In addition to finding blockages in Houston's coronary arteries, the Los Angeles County coroner said that toxicology tests indicated Houston was a chronic user of cocaine. He also reported that marijuana, the muscle relaxant Flexeril, the allergy medication Benadryl, and the anti-anxiety medication Xanax were found in her system. Fresh water was found in her lungs, indicating that the immediate cause of death was drowning, according to the autopsy report.
A member of Ms. Houston's entourage found the 48-year-old pop singer dead and submerged in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton hotel on Feb. 12 in the midst of preparations for a music-industry event that evening.
The L.A. County Coroner’s office issued a toxicology report this afternoon that said the official cause of the pop diva’s death was “drowning and effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use.”
Under the section “How injury occurred,” the report — issued to multiple media outlets, including the Post — stated: “found submerged in bathtub filled with water; cocaine intake.” The manner of death was deemed accidental.