Tributes flood in for Whitney

As news spread of the unexpected death of Whitney Houston on Saturday evening, celebrities flocked to Twitter to pay their respects to the ‘beautiful and talented’ singer and actress.

Stars, from musicians to television personalities and business leaders, expressed their sadness at the news, praised the singer’s unmatched talent and passed on their wishes to her bereaved family.

Others voiced their shock at how the award-winning singer passed away at the age of just 48.

‘Heartbroken and in tears over the shocking death of my friend, the incomparable Ms. Whitney Houston,’ said Mariah Carey, who recorded the Academy Award-winning song When You Believe with the late star in 1998.

Music world in mourning: Mariah Carey, pictured here performing When You Believe with Whitney Houston at the 1999 Academy Awards, lead tributes to the singer following her shock death today

‘My heartfelt condolences to Whitney’s family and to all her millions of fans throughout the world. She will never be forgotten as one of the greatest voices to ever grace the earth.’

‘Shocked we’ve lost the immensely talented Whitney Houston!’ wrote fellow singer Gloria Estefan. Sending prayers of peace & solace 2 her family, friends & fans! Such a loss! Such an amazing talent!’

Mariah’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.’

The heavy-weights of the music – including some of the industry’s most successful stars – were quick to pay tribute to the woman many described as one of the ‘greatest’.

Dolly Parton, who originally wrote on of Whitney’s greatest hits I Will Always Love You, said, ‘mine is 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.'”

Singer Aretha Franklin, who was Whitney’s godmother, said: ‘I just can’t talk about it now.  It’s so stunning and unbelievable.

‘I couldn’t believe what I was reading coming across the TV screen. My heart goes out to Cissy (Houston’s mother), her daughter Bobbi Kris, her family and Bobby (Brown).’

Music mogul Simon Cowell, who invited the star to perform on the UK X Factor in 2009, said he was ‘so sad’ about her death.

He later admitted his team planned to discuss the singer as a potential X Factor USA judge, but had not yet approached her.

He said: ‘We were ironically going to meet on Monday and of course one of the names we were going to be talking about in that meeting as a possible mentor on the new series of X Factor was actually going to be Whitney Houston.

Music world in mourning: Mariah Carey, pictured here performing When You Believe with Whitney Houston at the 1999 Acadamy Awards, lead tributes to the singer following her shock death today


‘I have no idea genuinely whether she really was that interested or whether she would have,’ Simon said.

Last picture: Whitney was last pictured in public looking worse for wear at Tru nightclub in Hollywood on Thursday ‘Given the choice, I would have liked to have taken her under my wing as well, because she would have been the ultimate, ultimate mentor to any contestant coming on the show.’

He said Whitney was the superstar so many contestants on his various talent shows tried to emulate.

‘Whitney – ever since I’ve been doing this job, particularly doing talent shows over the last 10 years – was the No. 1 singer anyone ever wanted to emulate, if they really wanted to be a superstar, it was always Whitney,’ Simon said. ‘We would hear Whitney songs over and over again. She was the benchmark, she truly was.’

Fellow X Factor judge LA Reid added: ‘I am completely devastated by the loss of the greatest voice of all time! R.I.P. Whitney Houston. I will always love you!’

‘I am devastated,’ Paula Abdul said. ‘I am absolutely devastated at the news about Whitney Houston. Such a tragic, tragic loss.’

Houston was found dead in her room on the fourth floor of the Beverly Hilton. Houston’s publicist, Kristen Foster, said Saturday that the cause of her death was unknown.

Her death came on the eve of music’s biggest night – the Grammy Awards. It’s a showcase where she once reigned, and her death was sure to case a heavy pall on Sunday’s ceremony.

Her longtime mentor Clive Davis decided to go ahead with his annual concert and dinner Saturday at the same hotel where Whitney died.

Houston was supposed to appear at the gala, and Davis has previously said that she would perhaps perform.

‘I am personally devastated by the loss of somebody who meant so much to me,’ he told party guests.

Whitney influenced a generation of younger singers, many of whom expressed grief and shock over the news today.

Rihanna tweeted: ‘No words! Just tears #DearWhitney’

The Umbrella singer was attending a rehearsal for the Grammy Awards tonight, but admitted she was unable to focus.

She also tweeted various Whitney lyrics, including, ‘I have nothing, if I don’t have you,’ from I Have Nothing – the third single from The Bodyguard soundtrack.

And ‘If I should die this very day… Don’t cry!!! #DearWhitney,’ from 1998’s My Love Is Your Love.

She admitted: ‘I honestly can’t think of anything else!!! Feels so strange being at the Grammy rehearsal right now!!’

Nicki Minaj wrote: ‘Jesus Christ, not Whitney Houston. Greatest of all time.’

‘We have lost another legend. Love and prayers to Whitney’s family. She will be missed,’ Christina Aguilera wrote.

‘So devastating. We will always love you Whitney, R.I.P.’ wrote Katy Perry

Jessica Simpson tweeted: ‘I found my voice singing Whitney Houston’s music. Today I lost my idol.’

Teen star Justin Bieber said: ‘Just heard the news. so crazy. One of the GREATEST VOICES EVER just passed. RIP Whitney Houston. My prayers go out to her friends and family.’

‘I truly, truly adored Whitney Houston,’ said Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child. ‘Her album ‘I’m Your Baby Tonight’ was the very first album I ever bought.’

Country singer LeAnn Rimes tweeted: ‘I can’t stop crying. I have a show to do soon. Wow, I learned how to do what I do because of 3 great women, one being Whitney. She was always so kind to me. This is not gonna be an easy show for sure. I’m doing what she taught me to do by listening to her records over & over as a little girl. Her death is very surreal.’

Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb added his condolences, saying: ‘In my estimation we have lost one of the greatest voices in popular music today… but as we always learn too late… we never cherish it until it’s gone. My thoughts are with her family.’

At her peak, Whitney was the golden girl of the music industry. From the middle 1980s to the late 1990s, she was one of the world’s best-selling artists and many veterans from the industry who had witnessed her rise – and fall – were in mourning today.


She had the X Factor: Simon Cowell, with the star on the UK X Factor in 2009, said he was 'so sad' to hear the news

‘I am absolutely heartbroken at the news of Whitney’s passing,’ music producer Quincy Jones said in a written statement. ‘I always regretted not having had the opportunity to work with her. She was a true original and a talent beyond compare. I will miss her terribly.’

‘A light has been dimmed in our music community today, and we extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends, fans and all who have been touched by her beautiful voice,’ said Neil Portnow, president and CEO of the Recording Academy.

Barry Manilow said: ‘I can’t believe that Whitney is gone. My heart goes out to her family, to Clive (Davis), and to everyone who knew and loved this amazingly talented and beautiful artist. I will always love her.’ –

Rev. Al Sharpton called for a national prayer tomorrow to honor Houston and support her family, adding: ‘The morning of the Grammys, the world should pause and pray for the memory of a gifted songbird.’


Idol: Justin Bieber and Jessica Simpson posted messages on their Twitter page
Idol: Justin Bieber and Jessica Simpson posted messages on their Twitter page


‘I’ve know Whitney since she was a little girl and I loved her,’ said Smokey Robinson. ‘She was like family to me. I will miss her.’

Other musicians flocked to Twitter to express their grief at the ‘huge loss’ to the industry.

R&B singer Akon, who worked with Houston on the 2009 song Like I Never Left, wrote: ‘We’ve lost another Legend. RIP WHITNEY HOUSTON. I’m Honored to have had the chance to work with such an amazing human being.’


R&B singer Usher Raymond described the star as ‘a true icon of our time. Gone too soon.’

Former Boyzone star Ronan Keating told Sky: ‘I’m devastated. I cannot believe it. It’s hard to believe she’s gone. Another legend, we’ve lost another singer, probably the greatest singer the world has ever seen.

‘It’s very sad to see the tough times in her life. I saw her two years ago when she was trying to make her comeback and I could see that she was weathered and you could see that she had been through tough times but you could see the voice was still there and she was trying.

‘She was a family person. She loved her family dearly. She loved what she did. She loved her work and she was adamant that she was going to get back.

‘She will be remembered for that one track, I will Always Love You. What a song and I will always remember the movie The Bodyguard. Thank God we still have the voice, and that’s documented. She will be in our lives forever because of that.’

Asked if the music industry does enough to look after vulnerable performers, he said: ‘It’s about the people you surround yourself with. She really got involved in bad situations and the wrong crowd of people who led her down the wrong road.’

'R.I.P': Katy Perry described the singer's death as 'devastating'

Touched: Kim decided to attend Clive Davis' pre-Grammy party at the Beverly Hilton - where Whitney died - tonight after posting this message on Twitter


Scores of celebrities could say little more than that they were ‘stunned’ and ‘shocked’ by the news.

E! host Ryan Seacrest wrote: ‘At Grammys rehearsal hearing Whitney Houston has passed away at 48. Everyone here is absolutely stunned.’

Jennifer Hudson and Whitney Houston

Jennifer Hudson will pay tribute to her idol, Whitney, at tonight’s Grammy Awards. Show Ken Ehrlich said that Hudson will be featured in a ‘musical tribute.’ Prior to the news of Houston’s death, Hudson attended a pre-Grammy event Saturday where she discussed the impact Houston had on her career. Hudson talked about her love for Houston’s hit I Will Always Love You and said that she would ‘create duets with her because I wanted to sing with Whitney Houston.’ Houston actually presented Hudson with her first Grammy (pictured) . Hudson said meeting her idol ‘almost overshadowed getting the Grammy.’