The music world has lost one of the greats today.
The AP is reporting that pop singer Whitney Houston has died at the age of 48.
Houston’s publicist, Kristen Foster, confirmed the singer’s death this evening. The specific cause of her death has not been reported, but CNN has confirmed that R&B artist Ray J found Houston dead Saturday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, the site of Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy gala.
From the AP:
News of Houston’s death came on the eve of music’s biggest night – the Grammy Awards. It’s a showcase where she once reigned, and her death was sure to case a heavy pall on Sunday’s ceremony. Houston’s longtime mentor Clive Davis was to hold his annual concert and dinner Saturday; it was unclear if it was going to go forward.
At her peak, Houston 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.
Her success carried her beyond music to movies, where she starred in hits like “The Bodyguard” and “Waiting to Exhale.”
She had the he perfect voice, and the perfect image: a gorgeous singer who had sex appeal but was never overtly sexual, who maintained perfect poise.
She influenced a generation of younger singers, from Christina Aguilera to Mariah Carey, who when she first came out sounded so much like Houston that many thought it was Houston.
But by the end of her career, Houston became a stunning cautionary tale of the toll of drug use. Her album sales plummeted and the hits stopped coming; her once serene image was shattered by a wild demeanor and bizarre public appearances. She confessed to abusing cocaine, marijuana and pills, and her once pristine voice became raspy and hoarse, unable to hit the high notes as she had during her prime.
It was a tragic fall for a superstar who was one of the top-selling artists in pop music history, with more than 55 million records sold in the United States alone.
On a personal note, Whitney’s death is especially difficult to accept. As a professional singer and stage actress, I credit her with not only my love of music, but for quite literally teaching me how to sing. Despite her battles with addiction and her declining image over the past few years, she has been and will remain a musical icon to me. I know I am not alone in this sentiment, and I certainly hope she can be remembered for the special gift she shared with the world, not just the shell of a person she became.
In addition to her impact on the personal lives of children of the 80′s and the entire music industry, Whitney also touched the lives of sports fans everywhere when she brought us one of, if not the best performance of The Star Spangled Banner in Super Bowl history.
Whitney sang the ballad to kick of Super Bowl XXV in 1991.
Kristine Reese if the lead New York Jets writer for Aerys Sports and a regular contributor to Aerys Offsides and The Pulse.