September 13, 2001 -- Whitney Houston's rep issued a shocked denial today to counter reports that the singer/actress has died
In a statement, her publicist, Nancy Seltzer, said, "I've just spoken to Whitney. She is perfectly fine and does not understand why, with everything going on in the world right now, they have to find new rumors to dig up. She is home in New Jersey with her family." Seltzer said people were calling the singer at home and sobbing, after apparently having heard reports of her death over the radio. According to the rumors, Houston had died of a drug overdose.
Fans and the media have speculated about Houston's health after her performance at Friday's Michael Jackson tribute concert at Madison Square Garden, where she appeared shockingly thin, even skeletal. The singer then bowed out of the second night of the concert without explanation, prompting heightened speculation about her health. Houston has long been rumored to have drug problems, and in Tuesday's edition of the New York Daily News — which was evidently published before horrific terrorist attacks brought the city to a standstill — Seltzer denied fresh reports that her celebrity client was on drugs.
"Whitney has been under stress due to family matters, and when she is under stress, she doesn't eat," Seltzer told the New York tab at the time.
Houston and her husband, singer Bobby Brown, have had a history of drug- and alcohol-related issues, including possession of marijuana charges for Houston in January 2000, which were later dismissed, and a 75-day stint in jail for Brown in 2000, after he violated his probation (stemming from 1996 drunken driving charges).
ABCNEWS.com's Buck Wolf contributed to this story.