With a ferociously powerful voice and a dazzling range, Houston achieved stardom as a pop-soul singer known as "the Voice" and the "Queen of Pop". Her fantastic success -- and that of fellow pop icon Michael Jackson -- was propelled by a brand new device at the time: the pop music video.
Houston's trove of six Grammy awards included one for record of the year -- for a soaring cover of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You," and another for album of the year for "The Bodyguard." She later parlayed her stardom to acting success appearing in hit movies like "Waiting to Exhale" and "The Bodyguard," co-starring Kevin Costner.
She sold more than 170 million records worldwide but suffered a major career setback after admitting drug use during an abusive relationship with ex-husband Bobby Brown.
Houston got into Guinness Book of Records as the singer with the most number of awards: 411, including 23 American Music Awards, 16 Billboard Music Awards, 6 Grammys and 2 Emmys. Rolling Stone magazine included Houston into 100 Greatest Singers list.
Beverly Hilton hotel where Whitney Houston spent her last night. ©REUTERS/Danny Moloshok