Whitney Houston Death: Hollywood Reacts on Grammy Weekend
UPDATED: Mariah Carey, Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, Quincy Jones, Ryan Seacrest, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, Justin Bieber and Cee Lo Green are among those weighing in on the singer's sudden death the night before the Grammy Awards.
One day before the 54th annual Grammy Awards, news broke that Whitney Houston had died at 48, though the cause was unknown at the time.
News of the R&B singer and six-time Grammy winner's death surfaced Saturday evening at about 5 p.m. PST. She was due to appear at Clive Davis' pre-Grammy party that night. On Friday, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Houston had been approached to be a judge on The X Factor.
Quincy Jones said in a statement Saturday night: "I am absolutely heartbroken at the news of Whitney's passing. Ashford & Simpson first made me aware of Whitney when she was just 16, and 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."
Music producer Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, who worked closely with Houston on "It's Not Right but It's Okay" and her duet with George Michael "If I Told You That," said in a statement: "Whitney Houston was by far one of the greatest artist I ever worked with. One of the most amazing, anointed, gifted voices I've ever had the chance to capture in the studio. Most importantly, she was a beautiful person; she had such a sweet, beautiful spirit. She blessed us with so much greatness in songs that we can never ever forget her. Whitney was a dear friend, and my family will truly miss her."
Hollywood types, including those in the music industry, weighed in on Houston's passing:
Mariah Carey, whose "When You Believe" duet with Houston appeared in the 1998 DreamWorks animated film The Prince of Egypt, was "heartbroken" over her friend's death: "Heartbroken and in tears over the shocking death of my friend, the incomparable Ms. Whitney Houston." She went on to say, "She will never be forgotten as one of the greatest voices to ever grace the earth."
Ryan Seacrest, who was at a Grammys rehearsal, described the atmosphere: "At Grammys rehearsal hearing Whitney Houston has passed away at 48. Everyone here is absolutely stunned."
Christina Aguilera wrote Saturday evening to her nearly 1 million Twitter followers: "We have lost another legend. Love and prayers to Whitney's family. She will be missed."
Rihanna also chimed in: "No words! Just tears #DearWhitney"
Gloria Estefan wrote: "Whitney was always so sweet to me! Was rooting for her through her struggles! Such a shame. ... I'm truly saddened by this news!"
In a message to his followers, 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."
Tony Bennett wrote: "It's a tragedy. Whitney Houston was the greatest singer I've ever heard, and she will be truly missed."
Toni Braxton tweeted: "She's paved the way for every single singer in the music industry. Iconic, legendary, innovating, amazing, humble ... 1 the best in the world." The singer sent out a previous message to her Twitter followers upon hearing the news: "My heart is weeping ... RIP to the Legendary Diva & Icon Whitney Houston!!!!! Such an incredible influence over music as a whole!"
Bret Michaels said: "A legend with the voice of an angel, she will be missed."
Glee star Lea Michele wrote: "I'm speechless. Such sad news about Whitney Houston."
Ne-Yo wrote, "We love you Whitney Houston," with a link to an image of a quote that read, "An angel here on earth was she, given by God, but not to keep, blessed the world musically, inspired love generations deep, and then, after her task complete, back to him, may she rest in peace. ..."
Demi Lovato, who had taken time off to deal with personal issues, cited one of Houston's well-known songs: "I Look to You - Whitney Houston.... :'("
"This is the saddest thing I've ever had to write in my life, R I P to one of the greatest humans that I have ever known Whitney Houston," Wyclef Jean said.
Cee Lo Green, a fellow coach with Aguilera on The Voice, wrote: "R.I.P. Sister WHITNEY HOUSTON!!!!! We will always love you."
Jermaine Dupri wrote: "OMG!!! Whitney Houston died, No way !!!"
Adam Shankman, who choreographed one of Houston's music videos, wrote: "I choreographed I'm your baby tonight miss you angel."
Sean Kingston wrote shortly after news broke, calling her a "beautiful soul": "WOWOW R.I.P To A Beautiful Soul.. Beautiful Person... A Legend.. And Someone we will never FORGET!!! WOW Life Is Short Man SMH"
Singer Regina Spektor wrote on her Facebook page: "How very sad that Whitney Houston passed away today. ... What a beautiful magical voice ..."
Ricky Gervais wrote: "An amazing talent & a tragic soul."
"Whitney Houston gone. Voice of a lifetime. So sad," actor Rob Lowe said.
Carson Daly, who hosted MTV's TRL and leads The Voice and Last Call, was saddened to learn of her death: "Sick to learn of Whitney Houston's passing. On Clive Davis's big night. Prayers to her family. So sad."
Filmmaker Spike Lee paid respects to the singer: "God Bless The Dead. Whitney Houston R.I.P. She Was Only 48 Years Young."
CNN host Piers Morgan was "stunned" by Houston's passing, writing, "Stunned by Whitney Houston's death at just 48 - one of the greatest voices ever heard. #RIP"
Kathy Griffin joined in on paying tribute to the singer: "She was A TALENT & A LEGEND. She was never a 'reality star' No jokes from me about Miss Houston today."
Pretty Little Liars' actress Lucy Hale wrote: "so saddened about Whitney Houston.a LEGEND. RIP"
Glee actor Kevin McHale was shocked, like many to learn of Houston's sudden passing: "NO. this did not happen? whitney? what!?"
Shameless star Emmy Rossum, also a trained opera singer, recalled listening to her music growing up: "Very sad day. Grew up listening to Whitney. May she rest in peace.
Patton Oswalt pointed out Houston's downward spiral: "We watched this happen in super-slow motion. Horrible."
The Vampire Diaries' actress Nina Dobrev referenced one of the singer's iconic songs in her tweet: "#iwillalwaysloveyou is one of the most beautiful and iconic songs. It will be remembered forever. Rest in peace Whitney Houston."
Aubrey O'Day wrote: "Shocked that Whitney Houston has died. a woman that sold over 55 mil records n the US alone & changed EVERY artists soul..i'm so hurt."
Paris Hilton said: "So sad to hear the news about Whitney Houston. :( She was such a beautiful and talented woman. My heart goes out to her family."
David Simpson contributed to this story.
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