Bloomberg News

Whitney Houston Death Is Not a Homicide Investigation

February 14, 2012

(Updates with spokesman’s comment in second paragraph.)

Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) -- A probe into the death of pop-soul diva Whitney Houston isn’t a homicide investigation, police in Beverly Hills, California, said.

“It’s a normal investigation,” Lieutenant Mark Rosen, a police spokesman, said today at a televised news conference while declining to speculate on the cause of her death. “We follow the evidence where that evidence leads us.”

The cause of death won’t be known until the Los Angeles County Coroner completes its report, which may take two or three weeks, Rosen said. Police have completed an investigation at the Beverly Hills Hilton hotel, where Houston died in her fourth- floor room on Feb. 12, Rosen said.

Rosen declined to comment on whether prescription drugs were found in Houston’s room. Police won’t comment on the condition of her body or room and the investigation will be sealed, he said. Police haven’t ruled out anything and won’t conclude the investigation until they receive the coroner’s report, Rosen said.

Houston, 48, was the only artist to have seven consecutive No. 1 singles on Billboard magazine’s pop chart. The streak began with “Saving All My Love for You,” from her debut album in 1985. She also reached the top of Billboard’s rhythm-and- blues, adult-contemporary and dance charts.

The singer died on the eve of the music industry’s Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. She was found unconscious and unresponsive in her hotel-room bathtub by one or more members of her staff, who pulled her out, Rosen said.

No. 1 Streak

Houston’s self-titled first album was the biggest-selling debut for a female artist at the time. After the record yielded a top-five single, “You Give Good Love,” the No. 1 streak began. “Saving All My Love for You” was followed by “How Will I Know” and “The Greatest Love of All” at the top of the pop charts.

Starring roles in three movies, “The Bodyguard,” “Waiting to Exhale” and “The Preacher’s Wife,” broadened her resume in the 1990s. Her version of “I Will Always Love You,” from the “Bodyguard” soundtrack, was the biggest-selling single ever.

Houston’s personal and artistic descent stemmed from her dependence on marijuana and cocaine, and turmoil in her 15-year marriage to singer Bobby Brown. Remarks that she blurted out on television became part of popular culture.

“Crack is whack,” she told ABC News’s Diane Sawyer in 2002 when asked about crack cocaine, which she denied using. “Hell to the no!” she told her then-husband on “Being Bobby Brown,” a reality show that the Bravo cable network broadcast in 2005.

--With assistance by David Wilson in New York. Editors: Stephen Farr, David Glovin

To contact the reporter on this story: Edvard Pettersson in Los Angeles at epettersson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.


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