The pop singer Whitney Houston passed away this afternoon, her publicist Kristen Foster told the Associated Press. The cause of death for the 48-year-old singer was not known. According to CNN reporter Alan Duke, singer Ray J found Houston's body at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, though his publicist has denied that.
According to KTLA 5's David Begnaud, the L.A. County Coroner had not received an official report of her death by the time the news hit the media, but about half an hour later, Mark Rosen of the Beverly Hills Police Department told CNN that Houston's body was still inside the hotel.
On Friday the British tabloid The Sun published a picture of a disheveled-looking Houston leaving a Hollywood nightclub, writing that she looked haggard, angry and bleary-eyed, suggesting she is still tackling her inner demons. They also posted pictures of blood on the late singer's left leg and scratches on her wrist, though it was not clear where or how she got them. On Thursday Whitney Houston was recorded in what was likely her last public performance, with her voice sounding very raspy.
The six-time Grammy-winning Queen of Pop has made the headlines in recent years more for her drug use than for her singing career, which reached its peak in the 1980s and 1990s. In a famous interview with Diane Sawyer, after being confronted about rumors of her crack cocaine use, Houston told ABC, First of all, let's get one thing straight—crack is cheap. I make too much money to ever smoke crack, let's get that straight. We don't do crack, we don't do that. Crack is whack.