There was something unusual about her just two days before she was tragically found dead in her hotel room leaving the Grammy weekend in grief and tears.
Trigger Warning: This story mentions drug abuse that may be disturbing to readers.
Whitney Houston's death came as a shock to the world. She was only 49 years old when she died on February 11, 2012, from accidental drowning and suspected drug use. It's been over a decade since her unfortunate death, and she's missed dearly. Had she been alive, she would have turned 59 on August 9, 2022.
Two days before she died, Houston arrived for rehearsals. She was set to perform at her mentor, Clive Davis' yearly pre-Grammy gala, a lavish, star-studded affair held a day before the Grammy awards and traditionally one of the most coveted attractions of the Grammy weekend. It was to be hosted at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles, where the Run To You singer was also staying, per New York Post.
Houston's music director, Rickey Minor spotted something unusual about Houston while getting the band ready for their performance.
“She pops into rehearsal, and we hadn’t even started, and it’s 10:30 in the morning,” Minor said. “Like, she doesn’t get up till the crack of 3, you know? She’s not a morning person. She loves her sleep, and she’s a night owl, so I never get to see her at 10:30. And she was kind of wet, like dripping. And I said, ‘Where are you coming from?’ She says, ‘I’ve been swimming. I’m getting my lungs back. I’m getting back in shape.’ ”
Though Houston claimed she was leaving behind years of drug addiction and smoking, she was just trying to hide the truth from Minor and from herself. Two days later, just a few hours before Davis' party was about to begin, Houston was found dead in the bathroom of her hotel room.
Though her death was said to be caused by accidental drowning, her long-term cocaine use and heart disease were also contributing factors.
Before she died, she was anticipating a massive comeback once her film Sparkle, a remake of the 1976 musical drama, was completed. But that did not happen and the movie was released a few months after her death.
Just two days before her passing, Gerrick Kennedy, author of the book Haven’t We Almost Had It All: In Defense of Whitney Houston, visited her at the Beverly Hilton and recalled her being enthusiastic and "having a good time at the time." He saw Houston crashing an interview and stated, "obviously, we now know she was not [sober]."
That very night, Houston's impromptu performance, where she sang Jesus Loves Me at Kelly Price's pre-Grammy celebration at Tru Hollywood nightclub was the last time she ever sang in public.
The next day Houston was photographed leaving the club, looking like a mess. Though Houston tried reaching Minor, she didn't leave him a message, nor did she answer when he returned her call. "I never talked to her again," stated Minor, who had been close to the singer since 1982, from the time he first worked with her.
He learned about Houston's death from the Beverly Hilton's security chief. “He said, ‘Come with me.’ And we went to the service elevator, and we went up to the floor. And he said, ‘You know, she’s unconscious. She’s unresponsive.’ And then they cleared the floor, and I was the only one allowed to be on the floor. My head was spinning. Of course, I couldn’t tell anybody. It was an out-of-body experience to me … like some weird freak dream.”
This tragedy turned the Grammy weekend into a collective grieving by the music industry gathered to celebrate music on the biggest night of the year. However, the show had to go on.
“Your almost natural instinct right at the beginning was to throw the [originally planned] show out and make the show a tribute to Whitney Houston.” He added, “But that wouldn’t have been the right thing to do. So it was trying to find the blend between honoring her memory and then doing a Grammy show right,” said long-time Grammy producer, Ken Ehrlich.
LL Cool J, who was hosting the Grammys for the first time opened the Grammys with a moving prayer honoring the legendary singer which comforted everyone who had been touched by Houston and was grieving the massive loss.
Whitney Houston may be gone, but she will never be forgotten.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Pascal Le Segretain