Whitney Houston, Iconic Pop Star, Dies at 48

Houston's star was marred in later years by her struggles with drugs, alcohol.

ByABC News
February 11, 2012, 8:43 PM

Feb. 12, 2012 — -- Whitney Houston, the iconic American singer whose battles with drugs, alcohol and ex-husband Bobby Brown marred her star power, died on Saturday. She was 48.

Houston's publicist confirmed the singer's death to ABC News. Her cause of death is not yet known. Representatives from the Beverly Hills Police Department confirmed that the singer died in a hotel room at the Beverly Hilton hotel.

Police got a 911 call from hotel security at 3:43 p.m, P.I.O. Lieutenant Mark Rosen said. Efforts to revive her were unsuccessful and she was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m. Houston's daughter, Bobbi Kristina, were among the people that were immediately notified of her death.

Rosen said Houston's cause of death has not yet been determined and no "obvious signs of foul play" have been seen.

Today, TMZ reported that Houston's aides found her in the bathtub of her hotel room with her face underwater. An autopsy is expected to be conducted today or Monday, according to KABC.

PHOTOS: Whitney Houston Through the Years

Houston was scheduled to perform Saturday evening at a pre-Grammy Awards party for producer and mentor Clive Davis. The party went on despite the star's death, and the presence of numerous police vehicles, including a crime lab bus, outside the hotel.

Among the stars and celebrities who showed up for the party were singer Alicia Keys, soul legend Gladys Knight, entrpreneur Richard Branson, and jazz great Herbie Hancock.

PHOTOS: Clive Davis' Pre-Grammy Awards Gala

Houston's mother, Cissy Houston, and her cousin, Dionne Warwick, reportedly both spoke to the singer during the day and had no indication that anything was wrong.

Warwick spoke to her over the phone to check that they were seated at the same table at Davis' party and Cissy Houston talked to her at around 3:15, according to TMZ.

Houston was last photographed on Thursday, when she appeared disheveled and disoriented in front of the Tru Hollywood nightclub that played host to a pre-Grammy Awards party. According to the Hollywood Reporter, she got into an altercation with "X Factor" finalist Stacy Francis at the event, where she was said to be acting "belligerent." On Friday, she was partying loudly at the Beverly Hills Hilton, according to TMZ.

Houston returned to rehab in May of last year seeking treatment for drug and alcohol dependence. "Whitney voluntarily entered the program to support her long-standing recovery process," her publicist said at the time.

The six-time Grammy winner staged a comeback in 2009, but was dogged by rumors that she was using drugs again. That year, she told Oprah Winfrey that marijuana laced with cocaine was her substance of choice during her 1992 to 2006 marriage to R&B singer Bobby Brown. They have a daughter together, Houston's only child, Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown.

Houston's appearance on "Oprah" was her first major television interview since 2002, when she talked to ABC News' Diane Sawyer.

At the time, Sawyer asked Houston about ongoing drug rumors that had started in 2000, when airport security guards found marijuana in Houston and Brown's bags at a Hawaiian airport. The singer alluded to having used cocaine, pills and marijuana -- but drew the line at crack in what turned into an infamous rant.

"First of all, let's get one thing straight," she told Sawyer. "Crack is cheap. I make too much money to ever smoke crack. Let's get that straight. OK? We don't do crack. We don't do that. Crack is wack."

In August 2009, Houston released "I Look to You," her first studio album in seven years. It sold 304,000 copies in its first seven days on the market, sending Houston back to the top of the charts and giving her the best debut week of her career.