Sunday, February 12, 2012

The death of Whitney Houston - so many questions


On the eve of the Grammy Awards, fans around the world are mourning the death of singer Whitney Houston.  I was at a movie theatre last night when I heard the sad news.  Given Houston's struggle with substance abuse, my first thought was that she had died of a drug overdose.  The circumstances of her death, however, remain unclear pending a coroner's investigation.  An autopsy has been scheduled.

All we know for certain is that Whitney was found unconscious in a bathtub in her room on the fourth floor of the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.  Paramedics were called to the scene, but efforts to revive her failed.  She was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m. on February 11, 2012.  Beverly Hills Police Lt. Mark Rosen declared that there "were no obvious signs of criminal intent." 

Until more information comes to light, the star's tragic demise will be shrouded in mystery.  There are just too many questions.  On the surface, things were looking brighter for the troubled songstress.  She was in the midst of a comeback and she had an ABC television movie in the works.  CNN reported that a music executive who was staying on the floor above Houston's suite had seen Whitney swimming in the hotel pool with her 18-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown.  The music exec said that mother and daughter looked very happy.  Other news sources, however, tell a different story.  They report that two days prior to her death Whitney appeared dishevelled and confused.  She was sweating profusely and she smelt of alcohol. 

Whitney Houston was only 48 years old and she will be missed.  Born in Newark, New Jersey on August 9, 1963, she was the daughter of gospel singer Cissy Houston, the cousin of Dionne Warwick and the goddaughter of Aretha Franklin.  What a pedigree!  No wonder she had such a magnificent voice.  Imagine being able to say that your godmother is "Lady Soul" herself. 

After learning of Whitney's passing, a distraught Aretha said in a brief statement, "It's so stunning and unbelievable.  I couldn't believe what I was reading coming across the TV screen."  Many others are shocked and saddened.  Through the years, we watched the painful decline of a great talent.  It was a decline that began with her disastrous involvement and abusive marriage to Bobby Brown.  She was swept into the whirlwind of his drug-addled world and she could not escape from it.

I went to a Whitney Houston concert here in Toronto back in the 1980s when she was in her prime.  It was at the old CNE stadium and I will never forget it.  What a voice!  How beautiful she was!  It's a shame that someone with so much talent had to end up in such a terrible state!  Rest in peace, Whitney.  You'll be singing with the angels.

- Joanne

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