Monday, February 13, 2012



Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston performs in New York's Central Park in 2009. Picture: AP
MINUTES before she entered the bath that would become her deathbed, Whitney Houston chatted to her mother Cissy on the phone.
The grand diva of pop was preparing for a pre-Grammys party and, according to those close to her, she gave no clue that anything was awry.
Yet as detectives reconstruct Houston's last hours, reports are emerging that a cocktail of drugs was found in her hotel suite.
Houston was found submerged in the bathtub of her Beverly Hilton hotel room after members of her entourage became concerned about how long she had spent in the bathroom.
A law enforcement source claimed yesterday several bottles of prescription drugs - including Xanax, Lorazepam, Valium and a sleeping medication - were found at the scene and removed by detectives.
While a bodyguard and then firefighters at the hotel attempted performed CPR for 20 minutes, she was pronounced dead by paramedics at 3.55pm on Saturday, local time.
Houston, who battled drug addiction for more than a decade, was seen looking disoriented as she left a pre-Grammy concert honouring R&B nominee Kelly Price on Thursday night.
Many in the audience were shocked at her unheralded guest spot at Tru nightclub, which is hardly on the A-list map. "I wasn't expecting her to sing - I wasn't gonna ask her to do that," Price said.
"We embraced each other and she said 'Give me the mic'. I gave her the microphone, she started to sing and I went along with her."
Earlier that day, Houston had also been spotted at rehearsals for Clive Davis's annual pre-Grammys party, at the Beverly Hilton. A witness described her as dishevelled and sweating profusely, with a strong smell of alcohol and cigarettes on her breath.
It was a description which could have been made of Houston at almost any time in the past decade.
Yet Houston's mother, gospel singer Cissy, is believed to have spoken to her daughter only half an hour before she went into the bathroom to prepare for her star turn at the party held by Davis, her mentor. Houston was described as being excited to perform the opening number at the gala.
"There was nothing that indicated Whitney was high or doing anything wrong," a long-time friend said. "Just normal mother-daughter, casual chit-chat stuff."
Her mother, godmother Aretha Franklin and cousin Dionne Warwick were all said to be in shock after hearing of Houston's death. A spokesman for the Los Angeles Coroner's Office said there were "no visible signs of trauma" on her body after the initial post-mortem examination, with a cause of death not likely to be confirmed until an autopsy is completed early next week.
The results of toxicology tests may take several weeks to be known but it is believed police have ruled out any foul play.
There were fears yesterday for the wellbeing of Bobbi Kristina, Houston's 18-year-old daughter with ex-husband Bobby Brown, who was taken to hospital twice in the hours after her mother's death.
Bobbi Kristina was in the lobby of the Beverly Hilton when her mother was found, and screamed at police who would not let her into the room to see her body.
The inconsolable teenager, who travelled with Houston everywhere and was just as loved by the singer's fans, was treated for stress and anxiety at the Cedars Sinai Hospital and released yesterday afternoon.
She is expected to head to New Jersey to be cared for by her grandmother.
Despite her ongoing battles, Houston was said to be focused on reigniting her acting career, having finished filming the remake of Sparkle with Jordin Sparks recently.