Music icon Whitney Houston died in her room on the fourth floor of the Beverly Hilton hotel today, just hours before she was set to attend the annual Clive Davis pre-Grammy party on Saturday night at the iconic hotel.
News of Houston’s death reportedly set the lobby abuzz. Houston was found unresponsive in her hotel room when paramedics arrived, and the singer, 48, was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m. PT. Guests described the chaos after the star’s death as security blocked off the entrance to the wing where Houston was staying and media flooded the hotel’s Wilshire Boulevard entrance, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Beverly Hilton hotel, nicknamed “the place to see and be seen” in Hollywood, has long been a watering hole for A-list stars. The Golden Globe Awards have been broadcast from the hotel since 1961 and nearly 175 red carpet events are held there each year, including major Hollywood events like the Golden Globes, the annual Academy Awards Governor’s Ball, Davis’ annual pre-Grammy party and more.
Hollywood as we know it has grown up around the hotel, which has boasted big names on its guest list including Mel Gibson, Madonna and politicians like John F. Kennedy and more. Other notable events which have taken place at the hotel include Richard Nixon’s so-called “last press conference,” where he lashed out at the media after his defeat in the race for the California governor’s seat.
As stars arrived on the red carpet Saturday for the swank festivities at Davis’ annual pre-Grammy party, police patrol cars and a crime lab van remained parked nearby the hotel entrance investigating Houston’s death.
Houston is the latest celebrity to die at the hotel. Other celebrity deaths include Australian actor Peter Finch, who had a fatal heart attack in the lobby.