Her death came hours before her mentor Clive Davis held his annual Grammy party, which Houston was slated to attend. Beverly Hills police say Houston was found dead in her suite at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, the same location of Davis' party, at 3:55pm PST.
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Although the cause of death has not been officially determined, sources tell TMZ.com that Houston was found unresponsive and partially submerged under water in the bathtub, and had been taking Xanax for depression and anxiety. Houston was seen partying heavily the night before, and experts say mixing Xanax with alcohol can leave a person heavily sedated. An investigation into whether or not Houston drowned following a possible Xanax overdose is now under way.
Because of her history with drug abuse, reporters asked Beverly Hills Police Lieutenant Mark Rosen during a press conference whether they suspected drugs or foul play in Houston's death. "At this time, there's no obvious evidence of foul play or cause of death," answered Rosen. Police later obtained a search warrant and found various prescription bottles in the star's room, but no illegal substances.
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Last night, New Edition member and close friend Johnny Gill told CNN Houston's ex-husband Bobby Brown was with the group preparing for a performance in Mississippi and was "struggling" and "devastated." Brown later took to the stage and tearfully paid tribute to his ex-wife during his performance of his hit song "Tenderoni". Bobbi Kristina, the couple's 19-year-old daughter, reportedly arrived at the scene hours later but was denied a chance to see her mother's body.
When TMZ spoke with sources close to Houston's mother, gospel singer Cissy Houston, and cousin, singer Dionne Warwick, both said they'd spoken with the star just before her passing and she seemed fine and in good spirits.
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The iconic singer was last photographed leaving Tru Hollywood nightclub in Los Angeles on Thursday where she attended "Kelly Price & Friends Unplugged: For the Love of R&B Grammy Party." Friends tell CNN she looked a bit disheveled but nothing out of the ordinary.
On Saturday night, Clive Davis opened his pre-Grammys gala with a "very heavy heart," he said. "She was so full of life and looking forward to tonight, this night that celebrates music. She would have wanted us to carry on and her family asks that we carry on." During the event he asked partygoers to pause for a moment of silence to honor the fallen star, and a photograph of Houston with open arms displayed on the screen behind him. Ironically, it was at this very party that Davis first introduced Houston to the music industry in the late 80s.
Stay tuned for continued developments...