Thursday 25 May 2017

Whitney Houston: The lost 48 hours before her body was found in the bath

Whitney Houston in 2008. Photo: PA
Whitney Houston in 2008. Photo: PA
Whitney Houston in 1986
A coroner's van takes Whitney Houston's body away from the Beverly Hilton Hotel
Whitney with daughter Bobbi Kristina and ex-husband Bobby Brown

TRAGIC Whitney Houston binged on drink and drugs for 48 hours before her body was found in the bath of the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles.

She is suspected of taking an accidental overdose of prescription medication before taking a bath.

Her head was found below the water.

Just hours later her daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown, (19), who was with her mother in her suite, was taken to hospital after having a breakdown.

According to reports the star, who has fought a long battle with drink and drugs, may have fallen asleep in the bath after mixing alcohol with anti-anxiety medication.

Her family said she had a prescription for Xanax and Lorazepam for insomnia was also allegedly found in her room – it played a part in the death of Michael Jackson three years ago.

She had partied hard for the two nights before her death and was seen doing handstands by the pool on Thursday night before being pictured in a disheveled state leaving a nightclub.

Witnesses said she downed shots of tequila and got into a row with another woman over her boyfriend Rapper J.

Los Angeles County Coroner's Office said the 48-year-old star had "no visible signs of trauma" on her body when it was discovered on Saturday afternoon.

Officials said they suspected no foul play, but would not confirm reports that prescription drug bottles were found in the star's fourth-floor room or comment on any evidence investigators recovered.

Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said a post mortem had been completed but that specific details would not be released following a request from detectives investigating the death, which came on the eve of the 54th Grammys - the Los Angeles gala of music's biggest occasion.

"No foul play is suspected at this time," he told reporters at a news conference, adding that a probable cause of death was not expected to be established for six to eight weeks pending toxicology reports.

Houston, one of the world's best-selling artists in the 1980s and 1990s, was due to a appear at the annual pre-Grammy party of her long-time mentor, record producer Clive Davis at the Beverly Hilton on Saturday. She was found by a member of her entourage hours before it began.

The main Grammys ceremony, which opened at LA's Staples Centre last night, was transformed into an emotion-fuelled memorial to the troubled singer.

The night opened with a prayer and standing ovation to the singer, who herself won a clutch of six prestigious Recording Academy gongs over a turbulent career marred by spells of drug addiction.

Host LL Cool J said: "There is no way around this. We've had a death in our family so at least for me, the only thing that seems right is to start with a prayer for our fallen sister Whitney Houston."

He declared the night one to "celebrate and remember," and played a clip of Houston performing I Will Always Love You from the 1994 Grammys.

Later in the show, actress and singer Jennifer Hudson performed an emotional tribute to Houston singing a rendition of the late star's biggest hit.

Tributes were also paid by the parents of Amy Winehouse, who were called on stage during the ceremony to accept a posthumous award for the late British singer, who died following a lengthy battle with drink and drugs last year at the age of 27.

Referencing the recently deceased Etta James, Mitch Winehouse said: "Long live Whitney Houston, long live Amy Winehouse, Long live Etta James. There's a beautiful girl band up in heaven."

Los Angeles police confirmed paramedics unsuccessfully tried to resuscitate the troubled singer, who was pronounced dead at 3.55pm local time on Saturday.

The force said more details about Houston's death may be revealed later today, depending on the discretion of detectives.

Houston, who some speculated was on the brink of bankruptcy, was pictured last week looking dishevelled and disorientated as she left a Hollywood nightclub after performing at another pre-Grammy bash.

She was alongside her daughter Bobbi Kristina, who was yesterday taken to a Los Angeles hospital suffering from stress and exhaustion following the tragedy. The 18-year-old was later released.

The death of the star prompted a worldwide outpouring of grief, with tributes paid by some of the biggest names in the music industry.

Mariah Carey, who recorded the duet When You Believe with Houston in 1998, wrote on Twitter: "Heartbroken and in tears over the shocking death of my friend, the incomparable Ms. Whitney Houston."

Meanwhile, music mogul Simon Cowell described Houston as "one of the greatest singers of all time" and a "true superstar".

He told Heart FM a lot of people receiving awards at the Grammys would owe their success to "trailblazer" Houston, adding: "It's a night she deserves to be remembered fondly."

The Saving All My Love singer sold millions of albums and singles worldwide and carried her success into the film industry, appearing in hit movies including The Bodyguard.

But her career began to unravel as she battled with drug addiction, spending various spells in rehab. Her voice began to suffer, prompting record sales to nosedive and in 2007 her 15-year marriage to husband Bobby Brown came to an end.

Houston appeared on the X Factor in Britain in 2009 following an invite from Cowell as part of a comeback, releasing a new album after seven years off the scene.

But during the performance of her single Million Dollar Bill - her first UK TV appearance in 12 years - she suffered a wardrobe malfunction when a strap at the back of her dress snapped open.

Cowell said she still appeared to have a "few problems", but was a "delight to work with".

"She probably wasn't altogether there, but it was still Whitney Houston and you know that you are in a presence of a legend and I will never forget that day," he said.

Houston embarked on her Nothing But Love World Tour tour in 2010, but the UK leg was beset by cancellations.

Country singer Dolly Parton, whose sung the original version of I Will Always Love You, added to the widespread outpouring of grief saying: "Mine is only one of millions of hearts broken over the death of Whitney Houston.

"I will always be grateful and in awe of the wonderful performance she did on my song."

Houston's godmother Aretha Franklin spoke of her shock, writing on Twitter: "I just can't talk about it now, It's so stunning and unbelievable. I couldn't believe what I was reading coming across the TV screen. My heart goes out to Cissy, her daughter Bobby Kris, her family and Bobby."

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