The world of entertainment has reacted with shock to the death of pop legend Whitney Houston. The news cast a shadow over the opening of the Grammy music awards in Los Angeles.
The entertainment world has been reacting with shock to the death of pop legend Whitney Houston at the age of 48. Houston's publicist announced the singer's death on Saturday, just hours ahead of a traditional pre-Grammys dinner that Houston was due to attend, but said the cause of her death was still unclear.
At the awards on Sunday, proceedings began with a prayer for Houston, one of the biggest-selling female artists of all time.
"Although she is gone too soon, we remain truly blessed by her musical spirit," said host LL Cool J, who opened the awards with a prayer for "our fallen sister."
Police confirmed that Houston had been pronounced dead at a Beverly Hills hotel shortly before 4 p.m. local time, efforts to revive her having failed. Late on Sunday, Los Angeles assistant chief coroner Ed Winter said the cause of death had not been determined.
"There were no obvious signs of any criminal intent," said Marc Rosen, a lieutenant with the Beverly Hills police department, when news of the star's death came to light. "It is being investigated by Beverly Hills police detectives."
Houston had been set to attend the music industry honors program on Sunday night. Tributes poured in for the star from the world of entertainment. "I am absolutely heartbroken at the news," record producer Quincy Jones told the broadcaster CNN.
"She was one of the greatest singers I ever heard," said veteran singer Tony Bennett.
Houston, who was at her peak in the 1980s and 1990s, was best known for hits such as "How Will I Know?," ''Saving All My Love for You" and "I Will Always Love You." She also starred in movies including "The Bodyguard" and "Waiting to Exhale."
She was one of the most celebrated female singers of all time, and received multiple Emmy, Grammy and Billboard Music awards. Houston also influenced a generation of younger singers, including Christina Aguilera and Mariah Carey.
More recently, she had become better known for problems with drug and alcohol abuse and a turbulent failed marriage to fellow singer Bobby Brown.
Houston had confessed to abusing cocaine, marijuana and pills, and also began to suffer with medical problems that caused her voice to deteriorate.
cmk/rc/ng (AP, dpa, Reuters)