Tragic tale of Whitney Houston - World lost an icon through devastating drug addiction

Darcy Rafter August 9, 2022
Tragic tale of Whitney Houston - World lost an icon through devastating drug addiction


Whitney Houston would have celebrated her 59th birthday today, August 9. However, the pop icon sadly passed away on February 11, 2012, aged 48, after a harrowing battle with drug addiction.

Whitney will forever be an icon who has touched hearts and souls across the world. The star had paved the way for so many Black female artists. Guinness World Records cited her as the most-awarded female act of all time, having sold more than 200 million records worldwide.

The singer, actress, producer, and model has created a permanent legacy for herself. On what would have been her birthday, let’s take a look at how incredibly talented she was.

Tragic story of Whitney Houston from diva to tragic death

Photo by Dirck Halstead/Getty Images

Whitney is remembered as one of the best-selling artists of all time. She had smash hits such as I Will Always Love You, I Have Nothing and I Wanna Dance With Somebody.

The star was discovered by Arista Records producer, Clive Davis, at just 19 years old whilst performing in a nightclub. He signed her straight away and helped take Whitney from a gospel singer to a fully-fledged pop star.

However, Whitney’s downfall was a tragic one. The popular artist experienced personal struggles in the years leading up to her death.

Whitney Houston’s incredible talent fell victim to drugs

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Whitney’s struggle with drug addiction was public, and the mounting pressures of fame would likely trigger these habits. She made several attempts to beat her drug addiction, but ultimately it resulted in her tragic death.

Whitney went into rehab multiple times over the years, the first in 2004 and the last in 2011. However, she often relapsed as she was a long-time drug user.

Whitney admitted to Oprah in 2009 that she’d started using drugs in 1992 after the success of her film The Bodyguard.

“After The Bodyguard, it started getting heavy – cocaine, marijuana,” she revealed, explaining she’d become addicted to drugs shortly after marrying Bobby Brown.

Whitney then revealed how low the situation had spiraled. She said: “You’re living in the same house, and you’re sitting next to that person and you’re not saying a word for a week. And you just sit there watching TV. That bad.”

Whitney Houston’s tragic death explained

Whitney was found unconscious in the bathtub of a room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 11, 2012. Paramedics arrived at the scene at around 3.30 pm. Despite the crew’s best efforts performing CPR, she was later pronounced dead at 3.55 pm.

The coroner’s report concluded the singer’s cause of death was accidental drowning, with heart disease and cocaine use as contributing factors, ABC writes.

The initial and final reports state that blood tests show Whitney had smoked marijuana over two weeks before her death. The toxicology report also found Houston was “acutely intoxicated from cocaine” and she was a “repeated cocaine user”. It also states that Xanax, Flexeril and Benadryl were found in her system at the time of death.

How Whitney Houston’s drug abuse affected her body

Whitney’s drug abuse had horrifying mental and physical effects on her health. According to the report, Whitney had 11 of her front teeth missing and was wearing a maxillary dental prosthesis also known as dentures at the time of her death. These inserts are often worn by consistent drug users as long-term abuse can lead to decaying teeth.

In the lead-up to her death, the iconic singer was also losing her voice. The report indicates that Whitney was unable to stop smoking, this is something that can damage the vocal cords.

Bobby and Whitney were married for fourteen years and shared a daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown. Brown told People Magazine in an interview he was somewhat shocked by Whitney’s death.

He said: “I thought she was getting herself together, I thought she was really doing a good job and trying to get sober, and I didn’t think she would turn back [to drugs].”

If you’ve been affected by this story you can contact American Addiction Centers on (877) 686-7688 or Talk To Frank on 0300 123 6600 in the UK.

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Darcy is an experienced journalist passionate about celebrity culture and entertainment. After gaining a degree in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths University she has also become a social media specialist, always keeping informed on the latest trends. With almost five years of experience in media, her expertise is analysing platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. When she's not tracking the latest trending content, she’s watching films and eating lots of chocolate.