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Clive Davis didn’t mince words when addressing partygoers at his annual pre-Grammy gala on Saturday, as the news of Whitney Houston‘s sudden death turned a celebratory occasion into a night of remembrance.
“I have a very heavy heart, and I am personally devastated by the loss of someone who meant so much to me for so many years,” Davis told the audience at the Beverly Hilton, where Houston was found dead on Saturday afternoon. “Whitney was so full of life; she was so looking forward to tonight.”
Davis was known to have discovered Houston when she was a teenager and served as the iconic singer’s mentor for more than three decades. Even as Houston’s career stumbled amid a turbulent personal life, she was always a staple at his annual fete.
STORY: Grammys Scramble to Pull Together ’11th Hour’ Tribute to Whitney Houston
Davis also expressed his condolences to Houston’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, and the “extended family who loved and cherished her and her spirit.”
In addition to her daughter, Houston leaves behind ex-husband Bobby Brown, who reportedly broke down in tears while performing Saturday night in Mississippi as part of New Edition.
Houston was scheduled to attend Davis’ party pre-Grammy party. She was found dead in her hotel room a little after 3:30 p.m. Saturday. He dedicated the event to Houston’s memory.
“Simply put, Whitney would have wanted that we go on, and her family asked that we carry on,” Davis said, before asking the audience to join him in a moment of silence honoring Houston.
Then the show went on, with performances by Tony Bennett, Ray Davies with Jackson Browne, and Miranda Lambert.
“I know it’s been kind of weird tonight. I’ve had a lot of loss in the last few weeks,” Lambert said from the stage. “But how we heal is through music.”
Guests at Saturday’s gala included Dr. Dre, Britney Spears, Adam Lambert, Kim Kardashian, P. Diddy, Blake Shelton, Diana Ross, Alicia Keys, L.A. Reid, John Fogerty and Kathy Griffin.
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