Ms. Houston, who played the Fairy Godmother in the 1997 TV version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella," was pronounced dead at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. A cause of death has yet to be announced; the multitalented artist publicly battled substance abuse for many years and spoke candidly about the ups and downs of her career in a lengthy 2009 interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Ms. Houston's numerous Billboard hits included "Saving All My Love for You," "How Will I Know," "Greatest Love of All" and "Where Do Broken Hearts Go."
Over her career, Ms. Houston, the daughter of singer Cissy Houston, had sold more than 170 million albums, singles and videos. She recently completed filming a remake of "Sparkle," co-starring with "American Idol" and In the Heights star Jordin Sparks.
Whitney Elizabeth Houston was born Aug. 9, 1963, in Newark, NJ. At the age of 20, music producer Clive Davis signed the singer after hearing her perform in a New York nightclub. With her rangy, soaring and seemingly effortless vocals, she went on to take the music business by storm, earning multiple Grammy Awards and breaking record sales throughout her career. Ms. Houston even managed a hit with a gospel-tinged version of "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Her soundtrack to the film "The Bodyguard" was among the top-selling recordings of all time. She also appeared in the film, and among her other movie credits were "Waiting to Exhale" and "The Preacher's Wife." A stage version of "The Bodyguard" is expected to open in London. Ms. Houston had a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown, which ended in divorce. The two had a daughter, Bobbi Kristina, in 1993.
Ms. Houston had no Broadway credits.
In a statement Neil Portnow, president of The Recording Academy, said, "Six-time Grammy winner Whitney 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. Her powerful voice graced many memorable and award-winning songs. A light has been dimmed in our music community today, and we extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends, fans and all who have been touched by her beautiful voice."