Whitney Houston, the iconic singer known as “The Voice,” left an indelible mark on the music industry with her exceptional talent and powerful vocal ability.
However, her life was plagued by struggles, including drug use and personal turmoil, which ultimately led to her sudden and tragic passing.
Her passing, mere hours before she was scheduled to appear at a pre-Grammy party, consumed the internet and media as celebrities expressed their grief.
What Happened On February 11, 2012?
On February 11, 2012, Houston was preparing to attend the annual pre-Grammy party hosted by Clive Davis, her longtime friend, and mentor.
Throughout the day, Houston seemed to be her usual self; she spoke to her cousin Dionne Warwick and her mother on the phone, who reported that everything seemed normal.
However, a mere half an hour after her phone call with her mother, the singer was found unresponsive in a bathtub.
On February 11, 2012, the day before the Grammy Awards, the news of Whitney Houston’s death sent shockwaves through the music community and the world at large.
Her lifeless body was discovered in a hotel room, leaving behind her 18-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown.
The Tragic Cause of Death
Whitney Houston’s death was ruled an accidental drowning, with contributing factors of heart disease and cocaine use, as stated in the 42-page coroner’s report.
The toxicology report revealed the presence of “cocaine and metabolites” in her system, pointing to the role it played in her passing.
Additionally, traces of marijuana, Xanax (an anti-anxiety medication), Benadryl (an allergy medication), and Flexeril (a muscle relaxant) were found, although they did not contribute to her death.
The Complex Factors
According to Los Angeles County chief coroner Craig Harvey, the level of cocaine in her body was not necessarily lethal.
However, her death was complicated by her history of chronic cocaine use and heart disease. The presence of water in her lungs indicated that she was alive when submerged underwater.
Inside the Final Hours of Whitney Houston’s Life
Houston’s assistant, Mary Jones, had been with her throughout the day. Jones reported that she left the hotel room for roughly 20 minutes to pick up the singer’s dress for the party that evening.
When she returned, she found Houston face-down in the bathtub. Blood was coming out of her nose, and she seemed to be unconscious.
Jones immediately called for assistance; police were already on the premises in preparation for the day’s events and were able to respond within two minutes.
Paramedics arrived shortly afterward and attempted to resuscitate the singer for 30 minutes.
However, their attempts were unsuccessful, and Houston was officially declared dead at 3:55 p.m.
The Days Before Death
Houston’s friends and family reported being stunned by the news that Houston was using drugs when she died.
Though she had struggled with addiction throughout the 1990s and 2000s during her marriage to Bobby Brown, she had received treatment and been sober since at least 2007.
Houston checked herself into a rehab facility for a short time in 2011; her PR team reported that she was taking part in an outpatient program as part of her recovery process.
Nevertheless, in the last week before her death, friends noticed that Houston’s behavior was unusual.
She seemed flustered and out of sorts; after her final performance alongside Kelly Price on February 9, the media noticed that she was sweaty and distressed and had cuts on her hand and leg.
There were reports of an altercation at the club (where Houston had been attending a pre-Grammy party).
Still, Price vehemently defended the singer, saying they had a perfectly normal evening together and that everyone in attendance looked disheveled after dancing in the hot club.
In the following days, Houston attended several parties alongside other celebrities and seemed in high spirits.
However, she perplexed reporters at a press junket the day before her death; she appeared to be sweating heavily, and her behavior was almost wild.
Throughout the press junket, Houston danced off-camera, skipped around the room, and at times seemed lost as she wandered the lobby.
It was reported that security also found her doing handstands beside the hotel pool.
On the day of her death, Houston was set to attend the annual pre-Grammy party of Clive Davis. Davis had been responsible for getting Houston her first record deal; they had remained friends ever since.
The Mysterious Scene
Official reports from the coroner’s office revealed that Houston was discovered lifeless and face-down in a full bathtub.
However, upon closer examination, abrasions on her face suggested that she might not have been taking a bath at the time of her death, but instead, she had accidentally fallen into the tub.
Forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht expressed his expert opinion that Houston was already in a critical condition when she fell and became unable to get out of the bathtub on her own.
He pointed out that the water in the tub was abnormally hot at 93.5 degrees, implying that she had recently filled the basin but hadn’t entered the tub yet.
The scalding water would have caused burns on her skin, further corroborating the theory that she was not submerged in the water when she died.
The Role of Submersion
Although the possibility of Houston’s fall into the hot water contributing to her death was suggested, it was not the sole factor.
Reports from the scene revealed the presence of drug paraphernalia and crack cocaine in the bathroom. Among the items found was a rolled-up piece of paper commonly used for inhaling drugs.
Additionally, several prescription pill bottles were scattered throughout Houston’s hotel room. However, toxicology reports indicated that none of these medications played a significant role in her untimely passing.
While traces of various substances were found in her system, including cannabis, Benadryl, Xanax, and Flexeril, the only one present in significant amounts was cocaine. Open alcohol containers were also discovered in her hotel room.
Heartfelt Tributes from Friends and Colleagues
In the days following Houston’s death, an outpouring of love and grief flooded social media and other platforms.
Numerous friends and colleagues of the singer shared touching tributes to honor her memory. Mariah Carey, another illustrious singer, tweeted, “She will never be forgotten as one of the greatest voices to ever grace the earth.”
Oprah Winfrey, the renowned talk show host, expressed her sadness and admiration for Houston’s gift, referring to her as “THE VOICE.”
The music industry’s giants like Tony Bennett, Smokey Robinson, and Toni Braxton also shared messages of support, expressing their deep appreciation for Houston’s extraordinary talent and undeniable impact on the world of music.
The Emotional Farewell: Houston’s Funeral
The world bid farewell to Whitney Houston on February 19 in Newark, N.J., where she had once performed as a child in the choir.
The funeral was a poignant affair, filled with heartfelt performances and heartfelt speeches. Notable names from the music industry, including Alicia Keys and Stevie Wonder, paid their respects with emotional renditions of some of Houston’s most beloved songs.
Alicia Keys’ rendition of “Send Me An Angel” and Stevie Wonder’s confession of having a “little crush” on Houston before performing “Ribbon in the Sky” added an intimate touch to the farewell.
Whitney Houston’s Enduring Legacy
Whitney Houston’s legacy continues to endure, even a decade after her untimely death. As one of the greatest singers of all time, her influence on the music industry and popular culture remains unparalleled.
Her music continues to inspire new generations of artists, and her captivating performances have become timeless classics.
As one of the best-selling musical artists in history, Houston’s impact extends beyond her music. Her life and career have been the subject of documentaries and movies, which further solidify her position as a cultural icon.
Additionally, posthumous music releases ensure that her angelic voice continues to reach new ears and touch more hearts.
What was the cause of Whitney Houston’s death?
Whitney Houston’s death was ruled as accidental drowning, with heart disease and cocaine use listed as contributing factors.
What were the last words of Whitney Houston?
The alleged last words that Whitney Houston said were “I just want to love and be loved”
Was Whitney Houston’s death ruled as accidental?
Yes, the official cause of her death was ruled as accidental drowning.
Were drugs found in Whitney Houston’s system during the autopsy?
Yes, the autopsy revealed that Houston had drugs in her system at the time of her death.