Somber stars stepped out Saturday night to honor the late Whitney Houston at Clive Davis' pre-Grammy party at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Houston, who died at the hotel Saturday afternoon of undetermined causes, was set to attend Davis' annual bash. The 48-year-old singer was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m. after her bodyguard found her body in a bathtub.
Clive Davis, a dear friend of Houston's and an integral part in her success, was visibly shaken and upset at the pre-Grammy party. He took to the podium to give his condolences. I am personally devastated by the loss of someone who has meant so much to me. She was full of life, looking forward for tonight. She loved music and she loved this night that celebrated music.
Whitney was a beautiful person and she had a talent beyond compare. She graced this stage ... so many times. So simply put: Whitney would have wanted the music to go on. Davis dedicated the evening to Houston and asked for attendees to grant her a moment of silence. A photo of Houston, with her arms open and eyes to the sky, appeared on screen. Then he said, Now ladies and gentlemen, let the music begin.
Celebrity guests included Alicia Keys, Britney Spears, Diana Ross, Tony Bennett, Venus Williams, Kelly Rowland, Kim Kardashian, Jane Fonda, Berry Gordy and more.
Bennett was the first to take to the stage. He recounted other fallen legends, saying, First it was Michael Jackson, then Amy Winehouse, now the magnificent Whitney Houston. Let's legalize drugs, like Amsterdam, it's a very sane city now.
Though Houston's cause of death has yet to be announced, Bennett was clearly referencing her long battle with drug and alcohol addiction. TMZ reported Sunday morning that those close to the singer said she would take Xanax before performances to calm her nerves. She had a history of drug addictions, and attempted stints in rehab.
Though Davis' party was shaken by the sudden death of Whitney Houston, the show had to go on.
Grammy President and CEO Neil Portnow, who called Whitney Houston a personal friend, according to The Daily Mail, said, Canceling the party was never an option. A lot of us holding hands tonight, on each other's shoulders ... We'll be celebrating. The legacy she left will be here forever.