Saturday, 14 July 2012

Sage Stallone - Sylvester's Son Dies Of Overdose



Exclusive
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UPDATE 10:22 PM PT -- Law enforcement sources tell us ... Sage's death does NOT appear to be a suicide.  We're told there was NO suicide note found at the scene.

Sources tell us officials DID find "numerous empty pill bottles" in the area where Sage's body was discovered. No word on what types of medication the pill bottles were for.
We're told an autopsy is scheduled for some time in the next 48 hours.

UPDATE 5:15 PM PT: 
Sylvester Stallone's rep, Michelle Bega, tells TMZ, "Sylvester Stallone is devastated and grief-stricken over the sudden loss of his son Sage Stallone.  His compassion and thoughts are with Sage's mother, Sasha.  Sage was a very talented and wonderful young man.  His loss will be felt forever."

6:04 PM PT:
Now here's a crazy picture -- the L.A. County Coroner van, flanked by a celebrity tour filled with snap-happy tourists. Welcome to Hollywood, folks.

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Sage Stallone -- Sylvester Stallone's son -- has died and sources tell us the cause was an overdose of pills.

The details surrounding the death are still unclear .. but we're told he was found in his L.A. home by either a maid or his girlfriend. Paramedics were called to the home and pronounced him dead at the scene.

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Sources tell us authorities are trying to determine if the death was intentional or accidental.

We're told Sylvester is a "wreck."

Sage famously made his film debut alongside his father in the 1990 movie "Rocky 5" -- playing the role of Rocky's son Robert Balboa.

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He went on to act and direct in several films ... including the 1996 film "Daylight."

Sage's mother is Sasha Czack.
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Source: www.tmz.com

Monday, 18 June 2012

Rodney King, whose videotaped beating prompted LA race riots, dies aged 47

King's savage beating by Los Angeles police officers came to represent a nadir in race relations in recent US history


Rodney King
Rodney King in April 2012. Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Rodney King, whose savage beating at the hands of Los Angeles police officers led to widespread rioting and a reassessment of race-relations in America, has died.
The 47-year-old's body was discovered by his fiancee at his swimming pool in Rialto, California, early Sunday morning.
Police pulled King from the water but were unable to resuscitate him. Foul play is not thought to have played a part in the death of a man whose life will forever be associated with one night of brutal violence, and its long-lasting impact on American society.
In an interview with the Guardian just last month, King acknowledged the role that his beatings played in the narrative of modern race-relations in the US.
"I'm comfortable with my position in American history," he said.
The incident that elevated King to a national symbol of racial prejudice occurred on 3 March 1991.
In the early morning hours of that day, the then-25-year-old was subjected to vicious assault at the hands of four white police officers at the side of a highway in Los Angeles.
King, on parole for a robbery conviction at the time, was surrounded by officers following a high-speed police chase through the city.
Lying on ground, he proceeded to be pummelled by the cops, who he later alleged yelled: "We are going to kill you, nigger."
The attack left King with severe injuries including a fractured skull and damage to internal organs. Three surgeons operated for five hours on his badly beaten body.
He said of the attack in an interview with the Guardian: "It was like being raped, stripped of everything, being beaten near to death there on the concrete, on the asphalt.
"I just knew how it felt to be a slave. I felt like I was in another world."
In all, King received 55 baton blows and six kicks to his body, all of which were captured on video by a nearby resident George Holliday, who came out to his balcony after being woken by sirens.
He later passed the footage on to a local TV network, from which it was soon taken up by media across the country.
Four officers were later charged over the beating, but a three-month trial resulted in three of the policemen being acquitted by a majority white jury. A mistrial was ruled for the fourth defendant after jurors deadlocked.
The verdicts were met with widespread anger in the black community, leading to violent clashes and looting in downtown LA.
On the third day of the destruction, King made a public statement calling for calm.
"People, I just want to say, can we all get along? Can we get along?" he said. But the rioting continued.
In all, some 53 people are thought to have died in the 1992 clashes, with an estimated $1bn in damage caused to property.
It marked a nadir in modern American race-relations and left a mark on the country for many years.
King was also left with permanent scars from the attack. In later life he battled alcoholism and on a number of occasions was stopped by police for driving offences.
The full details surrounding his death were not immediately clear, but Rialto police said it was launching a drowning investigation.
Reacting to the news, Rev Al Sharpton described King as "a symbol of civil rights".
In a statement, the black community leader added: "History will record that it was Rodney King's beating and his actions that made America deal with the excessive misconduct of law enforcement."

Friday, 4 May 2012

Adam 'MCA' Yauch of the Beastie Boys dies at 47


(CNN) -- Adam "MCA" Yauch, a founding member of the pioneering rap band Beastie Boys, died Friday after a nearly three-year battle with cancer, the band's publicist said.
A torrent of Twitter messages from entertainers lauded Yauch, 47, as a visionary musical artist, filmmaker and humanitarian.
"He stood for integrity as an artist. What a loss. He was a very good man," said actor Ben Stiller.
Yauch revealed in 2009 that he had a cancerous tumor in a salivary gland. As a result, the band canceled its scheduled concerts and delayed the release of an album.
"I started feeling this little lump in my throat, like you would feel if you have swollen glands or something like that, like you'd feel if you have a cold, so I didn't really think it was anything," he said then in a video to fans.
Yauch, a self-taught bassist and vocalist, underwent surgery to treat the tumor that year.
2009: Springsteen, Beasties at Bonnaroo
Remembering Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys Remembering Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys
The Beastie Boys, who blended punk and rap, burst on the music scene in 1986 with the album "Licensed to Ill," which included hits such as "(You Gotta) Fight for the Right (to Party"), an anthem to teen angst; "Brass Monkey" and "No Sleep Till Brooklyn."
The group came together for the first time to play at Yauch's 17th birthday party, its publicist said.
Yauch was the oldest of the Beastie Boys, an only child who grew up in Brooklyn Heights, according to Current Biography magazine. The band, which also featured Michael "Mike D" Diamond and Adam "Adrock" Horovitz, sold more than 40 million records.
The Beastie Boys' success in hip-hop was notable at a time when the music form was dominated by African-American performers.
Yauch was unable to attend the band's induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last month. Horovitz read Yauch's acceptance letter.
Under an alias, Yauch directed several Beastie Boys videos, including "Intergalactic" and "So What'cha Want."
Yauch converted to Buddism in the 1990s after visiting Nepal and hearing the Dalai Lama speak in Arizona, he told the Buddhist magazine Shambhala sun in 1995.
"It just seemed like Buddhism, especially Tibetan Buddhism -- because that's mainly what I've been exposed to -- was a real solid organization of teachings to point someone in the right direction," the magazine quoted him as saying. "Some real well thought out stuff. But I don't know, like, every last detail about Buddhism."
The conversion led him to have second thoughts about the bawdy party-boy image the band portrayed in the 1980s, he told the Boston Globe in 1998.
"I didn't realize how much harm I was doing back then and I think a lot of rap artists probably don't realize it now," the newspaper quoted him as saying. "I said a lot of stuff fooling around back then, and I saw it do a lot of harm. I had kids coming up to me and saying, 'Yo, I listen to your records while I'm smoking dust, man.' And I'd say, 'Hey, man, we're just kidding. I don't smoke dust.' People need to be more aware of how they're affecting people."
As a Buddhist, Yauch became an advocate for Tibetan freedom.
He founded the Milarepa Fund, which helped raise money for the effort, and organized charity concerts involving the Beastie Boys and other acts, including the first Tibetan Freedom Concert in 1996. Several similar concerts followed.
The Milarepa Fund also organized a 9/11 benefit concert for residents deemed unlikely to get aid from other sources.
Yauch founded Oscilloscope Laboratories, which was active in independent video distribution. Its founder directed the basketball documentary "Gunnin' For That #1 Spot," released in 2008.
"Adam was incredibly sweet and the most sensitive artist, who I loved dearly," said music impresario Russell Simmons, co-founder of Def Jam, which released "Licensed to Ill."
"I was always inspired by his work," Simmons said. "He will be missed by all of us."
Yauch is survived by his wife, Dechen, and a daughter, according to the band's publicist.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Windows 8 Beats the iPad!

Windows 8 is now available for anyone to download, and it already shows a ton of potential. In fact, Microsoft’s bold new OS, which reminds us a lot of Windows Phone, outshines the iPad in some key areas. Granted, there were things we didn’t like in our Windows 8 Consumer Preview — and the iPad 3 or iPad HD is just around the corner — but there’s no question that Apple will soon have a real fight on its hands. Here are the top 10 ways Windows 8 is better than the iPad right now. 
1. Windows 8 is more personal than iOS
While iOS represents photos with a flower icon, Windows 8 lets you choose any photo you want to populate the live tile that lives on the Start screen. And that's just one of many ways you can customize the screen you'll see most. You can move items around, name groups of apps around and name them using the Semantic zoom feature, and pin everything from your favorite people and websites to the Start screen.
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2. Faster multitasking on Windows 8
No double- tapping a button to see your stuff here. Windows 8 lets you thumb through the applications you recently opened fast and fluidly just by swiping from the left edge of the screen. If you want to see all of your open apps at once, swipe from the left edge and then pull your finger back towards the edge to reveal a thumbnail view.
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3. People App: Beyond the Address Book
One of our favorite features in Windows 8 is the People app. Why? Because it automatically links duplicate contacts so that there’s only one person for a given name. So, for example, if your friend is on Windows Live, Exchange, and Facebook, you’ll see all of those accounts listed. Plus, you can see your contacts’ latest updates on Facebook and Twitter.
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4. Windows 8 gives swifter access to Settings
Want to connect to a different Wi-Fi network or the settings for your app? On iOS you need to exit the app you’re using and open the Settings app. On Windows 8 you just swipe left from the right side of the screen and tap settings. There you’ll see network settings, shortcuts for adjusting everything from volume to brightness, and those settings related to the app you’re using. It’s just faster.
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5. You can access and attach files in Windows 8
Yes, Android does this already, but Windows 8 does it better. Using the Mail, for example, you can easily attach photos or documents to outgoing emails using Windows 8's well-designed file picker. It's a cinch to select more than one file, whether it's stored on your PC or in the cloud on SkyDrive. The file picker is also open to third-party apps. With iOS, you can't attach anything to outgoing messages within the email app and the file system is hidden.
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6. Windows 8 lets you snap apps next to each other
Say you want to work on a spreadsheet while rocking out to Slacker. Or you want to watch some videos while cleaning out your inbox. Windows 8 makes it easy with its Snap feature. Building on Windows 7, you can easily resize the window so it takes up one- third or two- thirds of the screen when you place it next to another open program, whether it's with your finger or a mouse. Plus, Microsoft is working with developers to enhance their apps so that you get all the functionality you need even in a smaller window.
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7. Internet Explorer 10 Is a super fast browser
Internet Explorer 10 is one of the fastest browsers we've tested. Period. On our home network connection sites loaded almost as soon as we were done entering the URL in the address bar. In a side-by-side test with the iPad 2, our Samsung Tablet loaded with Windows 8 narrowly beat Apple’s slate, loading seven popular sites in an average of 4.3 seconds, versus 4.8 seconds for the iPad. While we wish the tabs were always visible, we like how Windows 8 makes it easy to close all of the tabs you're not using with a single tap.
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8. Windows 8 is optimized for keyboard use
While you can add a keyboard case to an iPad, Windows 8 is optimized for mouse and keyboard use. Our favorite feature: the ability to search for an app just by typing on the Start screen. Windows 8 also has a ton of keyboard shortcuts, such as Win C for opening the Charm menu, Win D for showing the desktop, and Win Z for opening the app bar. We’re excited to see more designs like the IdeaPad Yoga that combine both touch and keyboard input.
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9.  Xbox is built in
If you have an Xbox you’ll be glad to know that the Xbox Live Games app (currently in preview mode) presents your 3-D Avatar and lets you keep track of your game activity. You can also download games from the app, since it has a built-in marketplace. For now the selection is very skimpy, but we anticipate the number of Xbox Live games to explode by the time Windows 8 launches. The separate Xbox Companion app lets you stream videos you’ve purchased from your Windows 8 PC or tablet to the console. It works, but right now the quality is only so-so.
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10. Windows 8 supports more devices
Out of the box, Windows 8 will support lots more peripherals than the iPad or iOS because it’s built on Windows 7. If you have a USB drive, keyboard, printer, or camera, it should just work. Microsoft’s new OS makes it simple to access these add-ons via the Devices charm. Just swipe from the right side of the screen. And you can add devices from the PC settings menu.
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Thursday, 1 March 2012

Davy Jones from The Monkees - DEAD

Davy Jones looking healthy and happy at 

autographing signing just a fortnight before his

 death


  • British-born Jones died in his sleep at his Florida home
  • Sixties icon survived by wife Jessica and four daughters
  • Bandmates Micky and Peter react to shock news
  • American group reformed last year and toured UK and U.S.
  • But new tour dates were cancelled amid reports of infighting
  • A woman made a 911 call from Davy's home urging the operator to 'hurry'
By Paul Thompson and Kimberley Dadds


He suddenly passed away in his sleep yesterday morning following a massive heart attack.

But photos have now emerged of The Monkees star Davy Jones looking healthy and happy at an autographing session just over a fortnight ago.

The lead singer of the 1960s group died at his home in Florida at the age of 66 on Wednesday morning.

Scroll down for video...

A picture of health: Davy Jones, who suddenly passed away on Wednesday morning, looked happy as he signed autographs at an event in California just two weeks ago
A picture of health: Davy Jones, who suddenly passed away on Wednesday morning, looked happy as he signed autographs at an event in California just two weeks ago

Stars including Eva Longoria, Boy George and Nancy Sinatra have all taken to Twitter to express their shock and sadness at his passing.

And seen in pictures that have emerged of him just a fortnight ago, the singer looked tanned and full of life.

The singer was appearing at the quarterly 'Hollywood show' autograph session in Burbank, California on 11 February alongside other star greeters including Harry Potter's Tom Felton and American Pie actress Shannon Elizabeth.

And he was clearly enjoying himself as fans flocked to see him and receive their own special signature.

Greeting fans: On 11 February the lead singer of The Monkees attended the autograph session in Burbank as he joked and laughed with passers by
Greeting fans: On 11 February the lead singer of The Monkees attended the autograph session in Burbank as he joked and laughed with passers by

In the photos Davy is seen grinning widely as he holds up some signed guitars and joked with passers by.

He was also seen signing memorabilia such as CD cases and posters of the group in their heyday as he beamed for the cameras.

And he was due to carry out a similar session in May at the Dead Mans Curve Hot Rod Event in New Jersey in May, where he was due to hold a private meet and greet for several selected fans.


The lead singer of the Daydream Believer group – which also consists of original members Micky Dolenz, 66, and 70-year-old Peter Tork – passed away in Indiantown, where he lived, his publicist, Helen Kensick, confirmed.

All smiles: Davy passed away at his home in Florida following a heart attack
Last picture: Davy passed away at his home in Florida following a heart attack

An official from the medical examiner's office for Martin County, Florida, said they received a phone call from the Martin Memorial Hospital informing them that Davy had died.

A spokesman for the Martin County Sheriff’s Office said he was pronounced dead after being taken to hospital in the town of Stuart.


The spokesman said they are investigating Jones’s death but said there do not appear to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.


A statement released by the Sherriff’s Office said:  ' A witness has stated that earlier this morning he was at 9955 SW Fox Brown Road in Indiantown, Florida, with David Jones (He stated Mr. Jones began to complain of not feeling well and having trouble breathing.
'Martin County Fire Rescue responded and transported Mr. Jones to Martin Health System. Stuart, where he was pronounced deceased.  At this time there do not appear to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.  Family has been notified.'


His bandmate, drummer Micky Dolenz, released a statement to TMZ saying he had 'bad dreams all night long' before learning of his friend's death this morning.

'Can't believe it...Still in shock...had bad dreams all night long,' Dolenz said, adding: 'My love and prayers go out to Davy's girls and family right now.'

Bassist Peter Tork released a statement saying: 'It is with great sadness that I reflect on the sudden passing of my long-time friend and fellow-adventurer, David Jones.'

With his bandmats: From left, Peter Tork, Mickey Dolenz, Jones and Michael Nesmith, seen here in 1966
With his bandmats: From left, Peter Tork, Mickey Dolenz, Jones and Michael Nesmith, seen here in 1966

'His talent will be much missed; his gifts will be with us always. My deepest sympathy to Jessica and the rest of his family.
'Adios, to the Manchester Cowboy.'

Michael Nesmith who didn't join the original members of the group, Davy, Micky and Peter - in reuniting for a 45th anniversary tour last year - also revealed he will 'miss' the pop icon. 

He wrote: 'I will miss him, but I won’t abandon him to mortality. I will think of him as existing within the animating life that insures existence.'

The 911 call that was made to call an ambulance to Davy's home can be heard below.

The woman on the phone is heard telling the operator that she needs an ambulance and urged 'hurry'. 


She was then heard shouting at other people in the background. 


Davy leaves behind four daughters, Talia Elizabeth, 43, and Sarah Lee, 40 from his marriage to Linda Haines, and Jessica Lillian, 30, and 23-year-old Annabel Charlotte from his marriage to Anita Pollinger. 


Monkee-ing around: Davy joined The Monkees in 1965 along with Micky, Peter and Michael Nesmith and became a television hit
Monkee-ing around: Davy joined The Monkees in 1965 along with Micky, Peter and Michael Nesmith and became a television hit

The pop icon – who was born in Manchester, North West England – married 33-year-old TV presenter Jessica Pacheo, who he met in 2006, in August 2009.


In May 2011, the singer said he was having some of the happiest times he's ever had in his life with Jessica.


He explained: 'We have love. We have friendship. She’s also aware of what I’ve done in music, and the fact that I no longer really need to prove anything.'  

Davy joined The Monkees in 1965 along with Micky, Peter and Michael Nesmith – who did not rejoin the group for their shows last year – and they went on to record a number of hit records including Daydream Believer, Last Train To Clarksville and I'm a Believer.
Jones was born on December 30, 1945, in Manchester, England. His long hair and British accent helped Jones achieve heartthrob status in the United States. 

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Just months before his death: Pictured at the Royal Albert Hall last May with two of his daughters, Annabel, left, next to her Jessica and far right, his wife Jessica Pacheco 


Heartthrob: Davy with daughter Talia from his marriage to first wife Linda Haines, pictured in 1969
Heartthrob: Davy with daughter Talia from his marriage to first wife Linda Haines, pictured in 1969

Last year, the pop/rock group - who were created to appear in their own TV show in the 60s - reformed for a 45th anniversary tour, but they ended up scrapping some dates amid reports of fall outs between the group.

At the time, Micky wrote on his Facebook page: 'Dear Fans and Friends, The Monkee Tour has, indeed, been cancelled but for reasons that I cannot discuss at this time. 


Paying tribute: Various celebrities including Eva Longoria, Elijah Wood and Stephen Fry, paid tribute to the singer on Twitter
Paying tribute: Various celebrities including Eva Longoria, Elijah Wood and Stephen Fry, paid tribute to the singer on Twitter 


'I can say that the reasons pertain to business and are internal matters.
'Needless to say, I am disappointed but the situation was unavoidable and I want to apologise to all the fans out there who will not be able to experience what was a wonderful show indeed. Regretfully, Micky (sic).'

Making a comeback: Jones reformed with the band last year for a UK and U.S. tour, seen here in London in May giving Micky a high five
Making a comeback: Jones reformed with the band last year for a UK and U.S. tour, seen here in London in May giving Micky a high five

CELEBS TWEET TRIBUTES...

'My heart is sad that my favorite Monkee Davey Jones has passed away! #I'mABeliever'
EVA LONGORIA
'He was my 1st crush!'

LISA RINNA
'Davy Jones leaves a wife, 4 daughters and a great legacy. Gone too soon.'
NANCY SINATRA

'Listen to "She" and "Daydream Believer", Davy Jones has passed. Very sad news.'ELIJAH WOOD

'Davy Jones of the Monkees is dead. He was 66 years old. A little bit of my youth just died.'AL ROKER

According to The Monkees website, Monkees.com, Jones left the band in late 1970.

In the summer of 1971, he recorded a solo hit Rainy Jane and made a series of appearances on American variety and television shows, including Love American Style and The Brady Bunch.

Jones played himself in a widely popular Brady Bunch episode, which aired in late 1971. In the episode, Marcia Brady, president of her school's Davy Jones fan club, promised she could get him to sing at a school dance. 


By the mid-1980s, Jones teamed up with former Monkee Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz and promoter David Fishof for a reunion tour. 


Their popularity prompted MTV to re-air The Monkees series, introducing the group to a new audience. 


In 1987, Jones, Tork and Micky Dolenz recorded a new album, Pool It. Two years later, the group received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In the late 1990s, the group filmed a special called Hey, Hey, It's the Monkees.
'R.I.P. Davy Jones' is now trending on Twitter with celebrities starting to pay their respects.

Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria tweeted: 'My heart is sad that my favorite Monkee Davey Jones has passed away! #I'mABeliever'.

And Melrose Place star Lisa Rinna retweeted Eva's message, writing: 'Ditto! He was my 1st crush!' 

Popular: The Monkees throw down their surfboards in a memorable scene from the opening credits of the hit U.S. TV show
Popular: The Monkees throw down their surfboards in a memorable scene from the opening credits of the hit U.S. TV show













Sunday, 12 February 2012

Whitney Houston: Brilliant, troubled pop star dies at age 48

From pop music queen to erratic star, Whitney Houston dies on eve of Grammys



Whitney Houston, who ruled as pop music's queen until her majestic voice was ravaged by drug use and her regal image was tarnished by erratic behavior and a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown, has died on the eve of the Grammy Awards she once reigned. She was 48.
Beverly Hills police Lt. Mark Rosen said Houston was pronounced dead Saturday afternoon in her room on the fourth floor of the Beverly Hilton. "There were no obvious signs of any criminal intent," Rosen said.
A Los Angeles County coroner's official said early Sunday that her body had been taken to a morgue.
Houston's publicist, Kristen Foster, said the cause of death was unknown.
Rosen said police received a 911 call from hotel security about Houston. Paramedics who were already at the hotel because of a Grammy party were not able to resuscitate her, he said.
Houston's death came on the night before music's biggest showcase, the Grammys. She will be remembered Sunday in a tribute by Jennifer Hudson, organizers said.
Her longtime mentor, Clive Davis, went ahead with his annual concert at the same hotel where her body was found. He dedicated the evening to her and asked for a moment of silence as a photo of the singer, hands wide open, looking to the sky, appeared on the screen.
Houston was supposed to appear at the gala, and Davis had told The Associated Press that she would perhaps perform: "It's her favorite night of the year ... (so) who knows by the end of the evening," he said.
Houston had been at rehearsals for the show Thursday, coaching singers Brandy and Monica, according to a person who was at the event but was not authorized to speak publicly about it. The person said Houston looked disheveled, was sweating profusely and liquor and cigarettes could be smelled on her breath.
Two days ago, she performed at a pre-Grammy party with singer Kelly Price. Singer Kenny Lattimore hosted the event, and said Houston sang the gospel classic "Jesus Loves Me" with Price, her voice registering softly, not with the same power it had at its height.
Lattimore said Houston was gregarious and was in a good mood, surrounded by friends and family, including daughter Bobbi Kristina.
"She just seemed like she was having a great night that night," said Lattimore, who said he was in shock over her death.
Aretha Franklin, her godmother, also said she was stunned.
"I just can't talk about it now," Franklin said in a short statement. "It's so stunning and unbelievable. I couldn't believe what I was reading coming across the TV screen."
The Rev. Al Sharpton said he would call for a national prayer Sunday morning during a service at Second Baptist Church in Los Angeles.
"The morning of the Grammys, the world should pause and pray for the memory of a gifted songbird," Sharpton said in a statement.
In a statement, Recording Academy President and CEO Neil Portnow said Houston "was one of the world's greatest pop singers of all time who leaves behind a robust musical soundtrack spanning the past three decades."
At her peak, Houston was the golden girl of the music industry. From the mid-1980s to the late 1990s, she was one of the world's best-selling artists. She wowed audiences with effortless, powerful and peerless vocals rooted in the black church but made palatable to the masses with a pop sheen.
Her success carried her beyond music to movies, where she starred in hits like "The Bodyguard" and "Waiting to Exhale."
She had the perfect voice and the perfect image: a gorgeous singer who had sex appeal but was never overtly sexual, who maintained perfect poise.
She influenced a generation of younger singers, from Christina Aguilera to Mariah Carey, who when she first came out sounded so much like Houston that many thought it was Houston.
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.
It was a tragic fall for a superstar who was one of the top-selling artists in pop music history, with more than 55 million records sold in the United States alone.
She seemed to be born into greatness. In addition to being Franklin's goddaughter, she was the daughter of gospel singer Cissy Houston and the cousin of 1960s pop diva Dionne Warwick.
Houston first started singing in the church as a child. In her teens, she sang backup for Chaka Khan, Jermaine Jackson and others, in addition to modeling. It was around that time when music mogul Clive Davis first heard Houston perform.
"The time that I first saw her singing in her mother's act in a club ... it was such a stunning impact," Davis told "Good Morning America."
"To hear this young girl breathe such fire into this song. I mean, it really sent the proverbial tingles up my spine," he added.
Before long, the rest of the country would feel it, too. Houston made her album debut in 1985 with "Whitney Houston," which sold millions and spawned hit after hit. "Saving All My Love for You" brought her her first Grammy, for best female pop vocal. "How Will I Know," "You Give Good Love" and "The Greatest Love of All" also became hit singles.
Another multiplatinum album, "Whitney," came out in 1987 and included hits like "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" and "I Wanna Dance With Somebody."
The New York Times wrote that Houston "possesses one of her generation's most powerful gospel-trained voices, but she eschews many of the churchier mannerisms of her forerunners. She uses ornamental gospel phrasing only sparingly, and instead of projecting an earthy, tearful vulnerability, communicates cool self-assurance and strength, building pop ballads to majestic, sustained peaks of intensity."
Her decision not to follow the more soulful inflections of singers like Franklin drew criticism by some who saw her as playing down her black roots to go pop and reach white audiences. The criticism would become a constant refrain through much of her career. She was even booed during the "Soul Train Awards" in 1989.
"Sometimes it gets down to that, you know?" she told Katie Couric in 1996. "You're not black enough for them. I don't know. You're not R&B enough. You're very pop. The white audience has taken you away from them."
Some saw her 1992 marriage to former New Edition member and soul crooner Bobby Brown as an attempt to respond to those critics. It seemed to be an odd union; she was seen as pop's pure princess while he had a bad-boy image and already had children of his own. (The couple had one daughter, Bobbi Kristina, born in 1993.) Over the years, he would be arrested several times, on charges including DUI and failure to pay child support.
But Houston said their true personalities were not as far apart as people may have believed.
"When you love, you love. I mean, do you stop loving somebody because you have different images? You know, Bobby and I basically come from the same place," she told Rolling Stone in 1993. "You see somebody, and you deal with their image, that's their image. It's part of them, it's not the whole picture. I am not always in a sequined gown. I am nobody's angel. I can get down and dirty. I can get raunchy."
Brown was getting ready to perform at a New Edition reunion tour in Southaven, Miss., as news spread about Houston's death. The group went ahead with its performance, though Brown appeared overcome with emotion when his voice cracked at the beginning of a ballad and he left the stage.
Before his departure, he told the sell-out crowd: "First of all, I want to tell you that I love you all. Second, I would like to say, I love you, Whitney. The hardest thing for me to do is to come on this stage."
Brown said he decided to perform because fans had shown their loyalty to the group for more than 25 years. During an intermission, one of Houston's early hits, "You Give Good Love," played over the speakers. Fans stood up and began singing along.
It would take several years for the public to see the "down and dirty" side of Houston. Her moving 1991 rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" at the Super Bowl, amid the first Gulf War, set a new standard and once again reaffirmed her as America's sweetheart.
In 1992, she became a star in the acting world with "The Bodyguard." Despite mixed reviews, the story of a singer (Houston) guarded by a former Secret Service agent (Kevin Costner) was an international success.
It also gave her perhaps her most memorable hit: a searing, stunning rendition of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You," which sat atop the charts for weeks. It was Grammy's record of the year and best female pop vocal, and the "Bodyguard" soundtrack was named album of the year.
She returned to the big screen in 1995-96 with "Waiting to Exhale" and "The Preacher's Wife." Both spawned soundtrack albums, and another hit studio album, "My Love Is Your Love," in 1998, brought her a Grammy for best female R&B vocal for the cut "It's Not Right But It's Okay."
But during these career and personal highs, Houston was using drugs. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2009, she said by the time "The Preacher's Wife" was released, "(doing drugs) was an everyday thing. ... I would do my work, but after I did my work, for a whole year or two, it was every day. ... I wasn't happy by that point in time. I was losing myself."
In the interview, Houston blamed her rocky marriage to Brown, which included a charge of domestic abuse against Brown in 1993. They divorced in 2007.
Houston would go to rehab twice before she would declare herself drug-free to Winfrey in 2009. But in the interim, there were missed concert dates, a stop at an airport due to drugs, and public meltdowns.
She was so startlingly thin during a 2001 Michael Jackson tribute concert that rumors spread she had died the next day. Her crude behavior and jittery appearance on Brown's reality show, "Being Bobby Brown," was an example of her sad decline. Her Sawyer interview, where she declared "crack is whack," was often parodied. She dropped out of the spotlight for a few years.
Houston staged what seemed to be a successful comeback with the 2009 album "I Look To You." The album debuted on the top of the charts, and would eventually go platinum.
Things soon fell apart. A concert to promote the album on "Good Morning America" went awry as Houston's voice sounded ragged and off-key. She blamed an interview with Winfrey for straining her voice.
A world tour launched overseas, however, only confirmed suspicions that Houston had lost her treasured gift, as she failed to hit notes and left many fans unimpressed; some walked out. Canceled concert dates raised speculation that she may have been abusing drugs, but she denied those claims and said she was in great shape, blaming illness for cancellations.
Houston was to make her return to film in the remake of the classic movie "Sparkle." Filming on the movie, which stars former "American Idol" winner Jordin Sparks, recently wrapped.
Simon Cowell told CNN's Piers Morgan on Saturday night that he had been considering Houston as a possible judge on the U.S. version of his talent competition, "The X Factor."
"She would have been the ultimate, ultimate mentor to any contestant coming on the show," Cowell said.
Source: cbsnews.com