Whitney Houston Dead at 48

She had battled substance abuse for years
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 11, 2012 7:08 PM CST

Whitney Houston, who reigned as pop music's queen until her majestic voice and regal image were ravaged by drug use, erratic behavior, and a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown, has died. She was 48. Publicist Kristen Foster said today that the singer had died, but the cause and the location of her death were unknown. At her peak, Houston was the golden girl of the music industry. From the middle 1980s to the late 1990s, she was one of the world's best-selling artists. She wowed audiences with effortless, powerful, and peerless vocals that were rooted in the black church but made palatable to the masses with a pop sheen. She died on the eve of the Grammys.

Houston made her album debut in 1985 with Whitney Houston, which sold millions. "Saving All My Love for You" brought her her first Grammy, for best female pop vocal. "How Will I Know," "You Give Good Love," and "The Greatest Love of All" also became hit singles. Her success carried her beyond music to movies, where she starred in hits like The Bodyguard and Waiting to Exhale. She influenced a generation of younger singers, from Christina Aguilera to Mariah Carey. But by the end of her career, Houston became a stunning cautionary tale of the toll of drug use. "The biggest devil is me. I'm either my best friend or my worst enemy," Houston told ABC's Diane Sawyer in 2002. Click for more on what we know so far about her death. (Read more Whitney Houston stories.)

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