Shock, wave of tributes pour out for pop legend Whitney Houston
MANILA, Philippines—Shock and a wave of tributes from music stars and industry leaders representing different generations poured out on Saturday at the news that pop legend Whitney Houston had been found dead in her hotel room in Los Angeles on the eve of the Grammys.
Her death brought a melancholic coda to one of the most celebrated careers in contemporary pop music history.
Regine Velasquez and Charice, two Filipino pop stars who cited Houston as an influence in their careers, were among those affected.
Velasquez told the Inquirer in a text message: “I’m deeply saddened by her passing. She influenced me, especially when I was just starting. I’m a fan and will always be one. Rest in peace, Ms Houston.”
Charice posted her reaction via Twitter: “One of my heroes, Whitney Houston. I will always love you … RIP.”
An hour later, Charice sent another message: “I still can’t believe this. I’m really shocked and sad. I feel like I lost a relative. I’m gonna cry. I’m shaking. Love u Whitney …”
The Los Angeles Times reported that days before her death, Houston behaved erratically during an appearance on Thursday at a rehearsal for a Grammy awards party.
Though she greeted people with a warm smile, she appeared disheveled, with mismatched clothes and dripping-wet hair, the paper said.
According to the report, the singer flailed her hands frenetically as she spoke, skipped around the ballroom in a childlike fashion and wandered aimlessly about the lobby.
Musicians, many already in Los Angeles ahead of the Grammys on Sunday (Monday in Manila), paid tribute to the singer, who sold over 170 million records.
“She was one of the greatest singers I ever heard,” said veteran crooner Tony Bennett, on the red carpet at the Beverly Hills Hotel, where Houston’s body was found in her fourth floor room.
“Heartbroken and in tears over the shocking death of my friend … She will never be forgotten as one of the greatest voices to ever grace the earth,” wrote Mariah Carey.
Grammys organizing chief Neil Portnow called Houston “one of the world’s greatest pop singers of all time who leaves behind a robust musical soundtrack spanning the past three decades … A light has been dimmed in our music community.”
Smokey Robinson told CNN: “I will always love her. She is one of the greatest voices in the history of music.”
The Recording Academy is scrambling to include some kind of tribute to Houston in Sunday evening’s show at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, according to CNN.
Jermaine Jackson, whose brother Michael died in similarly shocking fashion at the age of 50 in June 2009 in Los Angeles, said his thoughts went out to Houston’s gospel singer mother Emily “Cissy” Houston.
“I can imagine what she’s going through, because I … we’ve been through with my mother and it’s very tough to lose a child, and for you to outlive your child,” he told CNN.
Christina Aguilera added: “We have lost another legend. Love and prayers to Whitney’s family. She will be missed.”
From the younger generation, Canadian teen sensation Justin Bieber tweeted: “Just heard the news. so crazy. One of the GREATEST VOICES EVER just passed. RIP Whitney Houston. My prayers go out to her friends and family.” With reports from Associated Press and AFP