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Whitney Houston: An icon passes on
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

This article shared 6097 times since Wed Feb 15, 2012
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Grammy-winning singer Whitney Houston died Feb. 11 at the age of 48.

Houston died during the afternoon at the Beverly Hilton hotel. No sign of foul play has been reported.

Houston won two Emmy Awards, six Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards and 22 American Music Awards during her career. Her album, Whitney, was the first album from a female to ever debut at number one on the Billboard charts. She has sold close to 200 million albums worldwide.

Just a few of her hits include "So Emotional," "I'm Your Baby Tonight," "My Love Is Your Love" and "Saving All My Love For You."

She also appeared in several movies, including The Bodyguard (which featured her record-setting remake of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You"), Waiting to Exhale and Cinderella (with Brandy). She's also in the movie Sparkle, slated to arrive in theaters Aug. 10, according to .

However, later in her career, she was known for her dealing with drug usage. She admitted to abusing several drugs, including marijuana, cocaine or pills. The drugs altered her voice to the point where she couldn't hit the high notes she once did.

Celebrities immediately reacted to the news. According to, singer Gloria Estefan tweeted, "Shocked we've lost the immensely talented Whitney Houston! Sending prayers of peace & solace 2 her family, friends & fans! Such a loss!" Ryan Seacrest posted, "At Grammys rehearsal hearing Whitney Houston has passed away at 48. Everyone here is absolutely stunned." Joan Rivers tweeted, "What a sad tragedy-the end of the life of an incredible talent. RIP to an amazing singer and legend."

Barbra Streisand said in a statement, "She had everything—beauty, a magnificent voice. How sad her gifts could not bring her the same happiness they brought us." Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg posted, "R.I.P. Whitney Houston. Thank you for the amazing music you brought into the world."

She had one child, Bobbi Kristina Brown, with husband Bobby Brown. Houston and Brown were married 1992-2007—years that were seen as a particularly volatile time in Houston's life.

Houston's sexuality was the subject of speculation, particularly regarding close friend Robyn Crawford. However, Houston and Crawford always denied rumors they were having a lesbian affair. In 1987, Houston addressed the rumors in Time magazine by saying, "People see Robyn with me, and they draw their own conclusions. Anyway, whose business is it if you're gay or like dogs? What others do shouldn't matter. Let people talk. It doesn't bother me because I know I'm not gay. I don't care."

(Crawford reminisced about Houston in an article. In part, she stated, "Now I can't believe that I'm never going to hug her or hear her laughter again. I loved her laughter, and that's what I miss most—that's what I miss already.")

Houston is also survived by her mother, Cissy Houston. Singer Dionne Warwick is her cousin and Aretha Franklin is her godmother.

Bobbi Kristina, 18, was taken to the hospital Feb. 12 after being taken from the same hotel where her mother passed away. She was released after being treated for anxiety, according to ABC News.

Many shows devoted whole segments or entire episodes to Houston on Feb. 12 and 13. On The Wendy Williams Show, the host tearfully broke down as she recalled her own past as an addict—and then made the rare move of saying she'd no longer talk about Houston's death.

The New York Post reported Feb. 13 that Houston is set to be buried in her hometown of Newark, N.J. later this week.

Local reactions

Several members of the local LGBT community emailed Windy City Times about Houston's passing.

Hip-hop artist Tim'm T. West stated, "Whitney Houston's clarity of voice enabled my own clarity of acceptance. She was one of the first artists I'd listen to as a teen and not change the pronouns. To that extent, her music has been so integral to my self-acceptance ... and a reminder that if we don't honor the instruments we are given, we can surely lose them."

Robert Garofalo wrote, "She was simply an icon with the most beautiful voice. When she sang "and above all I wish you love" in her 1993 rendition of Dolly Parton's classic ["I Will Always Love You"], it was simply inspiring and uplifting. Her struggles against the many 'demons' in her life made her oddly human, and were issues almost everyone can relate to. But above all, her voice will live forever."

Angelique Munro commented that the passing was "very sad. Whitney just couldn't recover from her demons and restart her career."

William Hall said, "What a great loss. If only she had internalized the words of 'The Greatest Love of All,' which she sang with such heartfelt sincerity. His 12-year-old son, Camran Tindell-Hall, added, "Whitney Houston was a great singer and will be dearly missed."

Couple TJ and Brad Williams-Hauger wrote, "As part of Black History Month she was an amazing, encouraging and spiritual presence for so many in the African-American community and we celebrate her legacy. With that, we say, 'Take your flight, Miss Whitney. Hasten to his throne; we—the world and your family—may have loved you, but it is God who loved you more.'"

Amy Matheny, an actress and the voice behind Windy City Queercast, said, "I distinctly remember the first time I heard her cover of 'I Will Always Love You.' I was a HUGE Dolly Parton fan, being from eastern Tennessee. I was living in Memphis, driving down Union Ave. I literally pulled over my car to listen to it. I had heard Dolly sing that song at the close of each evening of her Dolly variety show on TV. But Whitney took the song to a transcendent place, as she did with each song she sung.

"Whitney Houston was also the only concert I ever went to with my brother Hank. [That was] also in Memphis, and in the early '90s. We stood on our chairs the whole time in the 10th row. It was one of the greatest concerts I ever saw. R.I.P. Whitney, and thanks for the memories."

This article shared 6097 times since Wed Feb 15, 2012
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