In 2010, Houston launched her "Nothing but Love" world tour. Though some said Houston's signature voice showed the stress of her ups and downs, she soldiered on, putting on shows in Asia, Australia and Europe even though fans and critics panned her performances.
At her peak in the 1990s, Houston was a force to be reckoned with in the music industry. She was one of the world's best-selling artists, selling out stadiums with powerful, poignant renditions of her greatest hits like "I Wanna Dance With Somebody," "How Will I Know," and "I Will Always Love You."
Houston won six Grammy awards, two Emmys, 30 Billboard Music Awards, and 22 American Music Awards, among others. Her album "Whitney" was the first album by a woman to ever debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Charts. She has sold more than 170 million albums world wide.
Her success launched her into the film industry, where she starred in hits like "The Bodyguard" and "Waiting to Exhale." Her struggles with drugs, alcohol, rehab (she went at least three times) and Brown, against whom she filed a charge of domestic abuse in 1993, pushed her out the spotlight.
In 2009, talking to Winfrey about why she took a break from show business, Houston said, "It was too much. So much to try to live up to, to try to be, and I wanted out."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.