Whitney Houston Has Died

Award-winning singer & actress was 48

This weekend’s Grammy ceremony will be slightly more sombre with news that singing star Whitney Houston has died.

Born into a musical family (her mother was a gospel singer, her cousin was Dionne Warwick and her godmother was Aretha Franklin) Houston showed an early talent for performing, singing in church and joining the New Hope Baptist Junior Choir at the age of 11. She tried her hand at modelling in the early 1980s, but it was her voice that turned her into a superstar, selling more than 170 million albums, singles and videos.

Her personal life was never quite as successful, particularly later in her career, where she battled with addiction and suffered a stormy marriage to Bobby Brown.

Houston was better known for her singing than her time spent on the big screen, but she did have an impact on the cinema in her brief dalliance with acting.

Head and shoulders above the rest of her career stands 1992’s The Bodyguar**d**, which, while it hardly stretched her with a role as a singing diva, saw her working alongside Kevin Costner as a former secret service agent who falls for the woman he’s protecting. Houston didn’t win over the critics, but the film was a success and the Dolly Parton song cover I will Always Love You became one of her most beloved musical numbers.

She went on to appear in Waiting To Exhale and The Preacher’s Wife before preferring to do most of her work off-screen, producing other movies (including The Princess Diaries) and singing the theme for DreamWorks’ animated The Prince Of Egypt.

There is one final Houston performance left to arrive: she produced and acted in a remake of 1976 music drams Sparkle, a story loosely based on the rise of the Supremes, which hits UK cinemas on October 5.

"Whitney Houston was one of the world's greatest pop singers of all time, who leaves behind a robust musical soundtrack spanning the past three decades,” Recording Academy president Neil Portnow said in a statement picked up by The Hollywood Reporter. ”A light has been dimmed in our music community today.” Houston was 48, and is survived by her daughter.