Entertainment‎ > ‎

A day before Whitney Houston is laid to rest, a flashback of the music icon's career and life

posted 17 Feb 2012, 11:55 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 17 Feb 2012, 11:56 ]

Whitney Houston, whose soaring voice lifted her to the top of the pop music world but whose personal decline was fueled by years of drug use, will be laid to rest on on Saturday, February 18, in Newark, New Jersey.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (REUTERS) - Whitney Houston, whose vocal power and range produced some of the most memorable music of her generation, including her signature hit, "I Will Always Love You", will be laid to rest on Saturday, February 18, in a service at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey, where she performed while growing up.

Alicia Keys and actor Kevin Costner will take part in the funeral of Whitney Houston along with the pop star's godmother Aretha Franklin, her cousin Dionne Warwick and singer Stevie Wonder, a family spokeswoman said.

Over the course of a 30-year career in which she established herself as one of the most-admired and influential singers of her time, Houston won six Grammys, 30 Billboard awards and 22 American Music Awards. She released seven studio albums and sold some 170 million CDs, singles and videos. The soundtrack for a hit movie in which she starred, "The Boydguard", was among the best-selling soundtracks in movie history.

Her 1985 debut, "Whitney Houston", became the best-selling debut album by a female act at that time and spawned several hits including "How Will I Know". Her second studio CD, 1987's "Whitney", became the first album by a female artist to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

She crossed over from music success to TV and movies, appearing in "The Bodyguard" (1992), as well as "Waiting to Exhale" (1995) and "The Preacher's Wife" (1996).

Born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1963, Houston was inspired to perform as a child by soul singers in her family, including mother Cissy Houston and cousins Dione Warwick and the late Dee Dee Warwick.

By the early 1990s, Houston reigned as the queen of pop, but her critical and commercial success on stage was accompanied by an increasingly troubled personal life. In 1992 she married singer Bobby Brown, who had a bad-boy reputation, and their tumultuous 14 years together were marred by drug abuse and domestic violence.

The pair also starred in a reality TV series, "Being Bobby Brown" which painted an often unflattering portrait of the couple.

The last 10 years of Houston's life were dominated by drug use, rumors of relapses and trips to rehab.

She launched a comeback tour in 2009 and in April 2010 she called media reports she was using drugs again as "ridiculous". In May 2011, Houston enrolled in a drug and alcohol rehab program.

Despite her personal troubles, Houston commanded great affection among her music industry colleagues, and emotional tributes flooded the media in the hours after news broke of her death.

The singer died in a Beverly Hills hotel room almost a week ago on the eve of the music industry's Grammy Awards. She was found underwater in a bathtub in her hotel room, according to police.

The death of the beloved pop star stunned the music world, her family and her fans.