Houston comes from a family of legendary singers. Her mother is award-winning gospel singer Cissy Houston, Dionne Warwick is her cousin, and Aretha Franklin, her godmother. Inspired by all the musical excellence in her family, by age 11, Houston was already singing her heart out in the gospel choir at her New Jersey church. She later went on to perform alongside her mother in New York City nightclubs until she was discovered by Arista record label head Clive Davis, who became her mentor, and quickly signed her to the label.
Houston’s career had as many high notes as she could hit with her one-of-a-kind powerhouse vocals. According to the Guinness World Records, Houston was the most awarded female performer of all time, with a long list of awards and achievements, including 2 Emmy Awards, 6 Grammy Awards, 22 American Music Awards, and over 30 Billboard Music Awards. Her smash hits “I Will Always Love You”, “The Greatest Love of All”, and “I’m Every Woman” will live on in the hearts of fans, as part of her incredible musical legacy.
Although Houston struggled with drug abuse many times throughout her adult life, with regular stints in rehab, in 2010 she told Oprah Winfrey she’d “conquered all her demons,” and even today, fans still hoped their favorite diva would make a comeback. It appeared it wasn’t far away. Earlier this week, news broke that the songstress had been invited to be a judge on the new season of The X Factor.
Sadly, we’ll never get to see her take the stage again. Take a look back at Ms. Houston’s life in pictures. Whitney Houston, we will always love you.