On February 9, 2012, Houston visited singers Brandy and Monica, together with Clive Davis, at their rehearsals for Davis' pre-Grammy Awards party at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverley Hills. That same day, she made her last public performance, when she joined Kelly Price on stage in Hollywood, California, and sang "Jesus Loves Me".
To me, Whitney was THE VOICE. We got to hear a part of God every time she sang. Heart is heavy, spirit grateful for the GIFT of her. — Oprah Winfrey on Twitter
On February 11, 2012, Houston was found dead in suite 434 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, submerged in the bathtub. The cause of death was not immediately known. It was later ruled by the Coroner to have been "accidental drowning". Beverly Hills paramedics arrived at approximately 3:30 p.m. and found the singer unresponsive and performed CPR. Houston was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m. PST. Local police said there were "no obvious signs of criminal intent." On March 22, 2012, the Los Angeles County coroner's office reported the cause of Houston's death was drowning and the "effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use". In addition, the office stated the amount of cocaine found in Houston's body indicates she used the substance shortly before her death. Toxicology results also revealed additional drugs in her system: Benadryl, Xanax, marijuana and Flexiril. The manner of death was listed as an "accident".
When the truly great artists leave us, their legacy lives on. We love Whitney Houston. — Alicia Keys
Houston had an invitation-only memorial on Saturday, February 18, 2012, at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey. The service was scheduled for two hours, but lasted for four hours. Among those who performed at the funeral were Stevie Wonder (rewritten version of "Ribbon in the Sky," and "Lov e's in Need of Love Today"), CeCe Winans ("Don't Cry" and "Jesus Loves Me"), Alicia Keys ("Send Me an Angel"), Kim Burrell (rewritten version of "A Change Is Gonna Come") and R. Kelly ("I Look to You"), interspersed with hymns by the church choir and remarks by Clive Davis, Houston's record producer; Kevin Costner; Ricky Minor her music director; her cousin Dionne Warwick and Ray Watson, her security guard for the past 11 years. Aretha Franklin was listed on the program and was expected to sing, but was unable to attend the service. Bobby Brown, Houston's ex-husband, was also invited to the funeral but he left before the service began. Houston was buried on Sunday, February 19, 2012, in Fairview Cemetery, in Westfield, New Jersey next to her father, John Russell Houston, who died in 2003.
I, like every singer, always wanted to be just like her. Her voice was perfect. Strong but soothing. Soulful and classic. Her vibrato, her cadence, her control. So many of my life's memories are attached to a Whitney Houston song. She is our queen and she opened doors and provided a blueprint for all of us. — Beyonce