Remembering Whitney Houston: 5 Career-Defining Moments

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston was at the peak of her career at the 1994 AMAs. She took home seven awards that night, including favorite pop/rock female artist, favorite pop/rock album for The Bodyguard soundtrack and favorite pop/rock single for "I Will Always Love You."

The music icon passed away three years ago today.

On the eve of the 54th annual Grammy Awards, music lost its greatest voice.

Whitney Houston died on Feb. 11, 2012, just one day before the music industry's biggest event was set to take place. She was found unconscious, submerged in the bathtub of her suite at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The Los Angeles County coroner's report stated accidental drowning as the cause of her sudden death, though heart disease and drug use were later revealed to have been considerable factors.

"A light has been dimmed in our music community today," Neil Portnow, president of The Recording Academy, announced the following day. "We extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends, fans and all who have been touched by her beautiful voice."

In a devastating turn of events, Houston's daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, was similarly found unresponsive in a bathtub inside of her home on Jan. 31. Brown was said to be "fighting for her life" in a statement by the Houston family and still remains on life support. Friends and family held a prayer vigil for the 21-year-old on Monday Feb. 9.

Musicians and actresses alike have paid tribute to Houston's iconic career throughout the years. Jennifer Hudson performed an emotional rendition of "I Will Always Love You" at the 2012 Grammy Awards following the news of her death, and Lifetime recently released the Angela Bassett-directed biopic Whitney on Jan. 17, which stars Yaya DaCosta as the legendary singer.

On the third anniversary of Whitney Houston's passing, THR highlights five of the singer's career-defining moments:

1. Whitney Houston (1985)

Houston released her self-titled debut album in 1985 and saw three singles — "Saving All My Love for You," "Greatest Love of All" and "How Will I Know" — reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The singer earned four Grammy nominations at the 1986 awards, including album of the year, and won her very first Grammy for best female pop vocal performance for "Saving All My Love for You."

2. The Bodyguard (1992)

In 1992, Houston took on her first acting role in the Oscar-nominated film The Bodyguard, where she starred as a pop singer who hires a bodyguard (played by Kevin Costner) to protect her from a stalker. For the film's soundtrack, Houston recorded a rendition of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You," which later went on to win Grammys for record of the year and best female pop vocal performance in 1994 (The Bodyguard soundtrack also won album of the year). To this day, the single remains one of her most memorable hits.

3. Interview with Diane Sawyer (2002)

In the midst of allegations that Houston had fallen victim to excessive drug use, namely cocaine, the singer cleared up a few rumors in a candid interview with ABC News' Diane Sawyer. "First of all, let's get on thing straight: crack is cheap," she infamously stated. "I make too much money to ever smoke crack. Let's get that straight. Okay? We don't do crack. We don't do that. Crack is whack."

4. I Look to You (2009) 

Though controversy surrounding the singer's drug history and marriage to then-husband Bobby Brown (the two split in 2007) kept Houston out of the spotlight for seven years, she returned from her hiatus with the release of her sixth (and final) studio album I Look to You in 2009. The record debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, and that same year, Houston made it into the 2009 Guinness Book of World Records as the most awarded female artist of all time.

5. "Jesus Loves Me" (2012)

Two days before she passed, Houston shared the stage with Kelly Price to perform "Jesus Loves Me" at Price's pre-Grammy concert on Thursday, Feb. 9. The duet performance was the singer's last public appearance.