Rihanna joins celebs’ tribute
LOS ANGELES, CMC – Barbadian pop singing sensation Rihanna has joined a large number of celebrities in the United States and around the world in paying tribute to the Grammy Award-winning singer Whitney Houston, who died here on Saturday, aged 48.
“No words! Just tears #DearWhitney,” Rihanna tweeted here on Saturday night, where she attended a rehearsal for the Grammy Awards on Sunday night.
“I honestly can’t think of anything else!!!” added the vocalist. “Feels so strange being at the Grammy rehearsal right now!!”
Houston’s death came as the music industry converged on this city for the annual celebration of the popular Grammy Awards, at which the late multimillion-selling singer was considered one of its “queens.”
Houston died at the Beverley Hilton hotel where she was planning to attend a pre-Grammy party, hosted by Clive Davis, the founder of Arista Records and Houston’s pop mentor.
Police said Houston was found in her room at 3:55 p.m. on Saturday, and that there were no signs of foul play. Police did not identify any cause of death.
“There were no obvious signs of foul play,” said Lieutenant Mark Rosen, a spokesman for the Beverly Hills Police Department.
“It’s still fresh an investigation to know whether — the reality is she was too far too young to die; and, any time you have the death of someone this age, it is the subject of an investigation,” he added.
In flocking to Twitter to pay their respects to Houston, celebrities described her, among other superlatives, as a “beautiful and talented” singer and actress.
“Heartbroken and in tears over the shocking death of my friend, the incomparable Ms. Whitney Houston,” said singer Mariah Carey, who recorded the Academy Award-winning song, “When You Believe”, with the late star in 1998.
“My heartfelt condolences to Whitney’s family and to all her millions of fans throughout the world,” she added. “She will never be forgotten as one of the greatest voices to ever grace the earth.”
Singer Gloria Estefan said she was “shocked” by Houston’s unexpected passing.
“We’ve lost the immensely talented Whitney Houston!” she wrote. “Sending prayers of peace & solace 2 her family, friends & fans! Such a loss! Such an amazing talent!”
Carey’s husband, Nick Cannon added: “Tell our loved ones how much we love them while they’re still here. I wish I could’ve told Whitney how great she was one last time.”
Dolly Parton, who wrote “I Will Always Love You,” which Houston popularized, said she was “only one of the 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, and I can truly say from the bottom of my heart, ‘Whitney, I will always love you. You will be missed.’”
Music industry analysts and observers say Houston was “born to sing,” coming from “a rich bloodline of soul singers.
Her Grammy-award-winning mother, Emily “Cissy” Houston, who sang backup for Elvis Presley, Mahalia Jackson and Aretha Franklin, was the catalyst of her daughter’s career.
When she was pregnant with Whitney, “Cissy” Houston formed a Soul group with her niece, Dionne Warwick, touring throughout the 1960s and providing back up for the top acts of the day, including Wilson Pickett, Lou Rawls and Van Morrison.
Cissy Houston was also head of the choir at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey. Whitney sang in the church with her older cousin Dee Dee Warwick, Dionne Warwick’s sister, a professional Gospel and R&B singer.
“I just can’t talk about it now. It’s so stunning and unbelievable,” tweeted Soul diva Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston’s godmother, whom she had affectionately called “Aunt Ree.”
“I couldn’t believe what I was reading coming across the TV screen. My heart goes out to “Cissy,” her (Whitney’s) daughter Bobbi Kris, her family and Bobby (Brown, ex-husband),” she added.