Remembering Whitney Houston [PHOTOS]

I’m still in shock that Whitney Houston is dead. Her passing is such a profound loss. 

The singer was to attend Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy party Saturday at the Beverly Hilton hotel, the see-and-be-seen event of the year. Clive and Whitney were extremely close, I honestly can’t imagine what the mood at the party will be, if it actually ends up taking place. If so, hopefully it will become a celebration of her talent and life.

At her peak, Houston was the golden girl of the music industry. From the middle 1980s to the late 1990s, she was one of the world’s best-selling artists. She wowed audiences with effortless, powerful, and peerless vocals that were rooted in the black church but made palatable to the masses with a pop sheen.

But by the end of her career, Houston became a stunning cautionary tale of the toll of drug use. Her album sales plummeted and the hits stopped coming; her once serene image was shattered by a wild demeanor and bizarre public appearances. She confessed to abusing cocaine, marijuana and pills, and her once pristine voice became raspy and hoarse, unable to hit the high notes as she had during her prime.

“The biggest devil is me. I’m either my best friend or my worst enemy,” Houston told ABC’s Diane Sawyer in an infamous 2002 interview with then-husband Brown by her side.

Houston sold more than 170 million albums, singles and videos over her career.

Launch the gallery to take a look at Whitney Houston over the years, and watch Whitney’s performance of “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” from the 2009 American Music Awards and prepare to shed a tear.