May 21, 2013
Legendary singer Whitney Houston dies
Whitney Houston, whose soaring voice lifted her to the top of the pop music world but whose personal decline was fueled by years of drug use, died in a Beverly Hills hotel room. She was 48.
The pop superstar died on the eve of the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles at the same hotel where her mentor, record mogul Clive Davis, was holding an annual pre-event party featuring scores of music industry celebrities.
A dramatic scene unfolded at the Beverly Hilton hotel as guests arriving for the party expressed shock at her death, while reporters swarmed the hotel, fans gathered outside to light candles in her memory and helicopters hovered overhead.
Beverly Hills police said they were called to the Beverly Hilton at around 3:43 p.m. PST, and fire department personnel who were already at the location responded immediately. Houston was in her fourth-floor room but was unresponsive to CPR, and she was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m.
"She has been positively identified by friends and family (who) were with her at the hotel, and next of kin have already been notified," Lieutenant Mark Rosen told reporters. Police said there were no obvious signs of criminal intent.
Los Angeles County coroners removed Houston's body from the hotel after midnight through a backdoor to avoid the crush of media set up to cover her shocking death.
Typically, coroners conduct an autopsy within a day or two, at which point they might release some preliminary information about the death. If drugs or alcohol are involved, however, an official cause of death would not be released until after toxicology tests, which could take six to eight weeks.