Legendary pop singer Whitney Houston was found dead Saturday at a Beverly Hills, California, hotel, officials said. She was 48.
The entertainer, whose incredible talent was discovered at an early age, was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m. (6:55 p.m. ET) at the Beverly Hilton hotel despite resuscitation efforts, a police spokesman said.
Beverly Hills Police Lt. Mark Rosen said there were "no obvious signs of criminal intent" and that the cause of her death is being investigated.
Houston's bodyguard found her body, said Courtney Barnes, publicist for hip-hop artist Ray J, who was dating the pop diva.
According to her official website, Houston sold more than 170 million albums, singles and videos. But she also struggled with addiction problems over the years.
Houston, whose hits included "The Greatest Love of All," died on the eve of the 54th annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. She had performed as late as Thursday night at a pre-Grammy event in the area. A pre-Grammy party was scheduled Saturday night at the Beverly Hilton.
Houston comes from a musical family; mother Cissy is a gospel music legend, Dionne Warwick is a cousin. Aretha Franklin was her godmother. She started out singing backup for Chaka Khan before Clive Davis signed her to Arista as a solo artist in 1983.She released her self-titled debut album in 1985, which was a massive success and the beginning of an absolute monster run that kept going through the late '90s.
The version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" that she sang at the Super Bowl in 1991 ended up being released as a pop single that made the top 20, which is ridiculous, and her version of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" sold four million singles and ended up breaking all sorts of pop records. She also acted in big movies like The Bodyguard and Waiting To Exhale. Commercially, she was an absolute juggernaut.
As a singer, Houston, along with sometime rival Mariah Carey is often derided as being the catalyst for soul music's move away from raw emotion toward cold technique. And she was certainly wasn't afraid to show off how ridiculously gifted she was as a vocalist. But this interpretation doesn't really do justice to Houston's ability to sell a song. Even though her songs often came with some of the cheesy smooth-pop flourishes popular at the time, she had a way of bringing a ballad to a monstrous soul-tugging crescendo.
There's a reason why a song like "I Will Always Love You" moved so many millions, and cold technique isn't it.
Houston, of course, married Bobby Brown in 1992, and that long and troubled marriage made her total tabloid fodder. She had issues with drugs, and she became notorious later on for acting really weird on Brown's reality show Being Bobby Brown.
The couple divorced in 2007, and Houston's attempts to return to the pop mainstream since have met with mixed success — though her last studio album, 2009′s I Look To You, sold a ton of first-week copies. We'll certainly learn more about the circumstances surrounding her death in the weeks ahead, but what a sad early end.
Houston was the most awarded female artist of all time, according to Guinness World Records, with 2 Emmy Awards, 6 Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards, among a total of 415 career awards as of 2010.
She held the all-time record for the most American Music Awards of any single artist and shared the record with Michael Jackson for the most AMAs ever won in a single year with 8 wins in 1994.
Houston won a record 11 Billboard Music Awards at its 4th ceremony in 1993. She also had the record for the most WMAs won in a single year, winning five Awards at the 6th World Music Awards in 1994. In May 2003, Houston placed at number three on VH1's list of "50 Greatest Women of the Video Era," behind Madonna and Janet Jackson.
She was also ranked at number 116 on their list of the "200 Greatest Pop Culture Icons of All Time." In 2008, Billboard magazine released a list of the Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists to celebrate the US singles chart's fiftieth anniversary, ranking Houston at number nine. Similarly, she was ranked as one of the "Top 100 Greatest Artists of All Time" by VH1 in September 2010. In November 2010, Billboard released its "Top 50 R&B/Hip-Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years" list and ranked Houston at number three whom not only went on to earn eight No. 1 singles on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, but also landed five No. 1s on R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Houston's debut is currently listed as one of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine and is on Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Definitive 200 list.
In 2004, Billboard picked the success of her first release on the charts as one of 110 Musical Milestones in its history. Houston's entrance into the music industry is considered one of the 25 musical milestones of the last 25 years, according to USA Today in 2007.
It stated that she paved the way for Mariah Carey's chart-topping vocal gymnastics. In 1997, the Franklin School in East Orange, New Jersey was renamed to The Whitney E. Houston Academy School of Creative and Performing Arts. In 2001, Houston was the first artist ever to be given a BET Lifetime Achievement Award.