Whitney Houston

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"Can't you do something about that girl's scream-
ing?" Whitney Houston's father would say to his backing singer wife, Cissy, when, as a child, the beautiful diva sang her heart out in the basement of their New Jersey home.

The voice which so singularly failed to impress him, enchanted the rest of the world.

In her lifetime the gifted songbird amassed a $100 million fortune, six Grammy's and 11 US and four UK number ones. But fame would also prove her undoing and ultimately lead to her tragic and untimely passing.

The road to riches began when Arista records boss Clive Davis heard her singing in a nightclub. Then 19, she was using her voice to pay for her education.

Her success in the music business translated to the big screen, and for her first starring role in the Kevin Costner film The Bodyguard, which grossed a staggering $400 million, she virtually played herself.

I Will Always Love You, the soundtrack's lead single was top of the charts for 14 weeks, making it one of the best selling discs in history.

She also starred in two other movies, Waiting To Exhale and The Preacher's Wife.

In June 1991, to everyone's surprise, the prim, god-fearing singer married bad-boy R'n'B star Bobby Brown, six years her junior. The couple had a daughter, Bobbi Kristina, born March 4, 1993.

There was much speculation about the state of their relationship - Bobby had a reputation as a ladies' man and had three more daughters by two different women.

Concerns over the state of Whitney's health emerged in the late Nineties, after numerous allegations that she had a problem with substance abuse.

Then, just 48 hours before her appearance at the Oscars ceremony in 2000, she was dumped by music director Burt Bacharach for her apparent inability to remember the lyrics to the songs she had been booked to sing.

However, the diva continued to produce hit records - My Love Is Your Love, which was released in 1998, marked a radical change in direction for the soul star.

Working with ultra-cool R'n'B producer Rodney Jerkins, of Spice Girls, Michael Jackson and Destiny's Child fame, Whitney sounded hipper and more urban than on her previous works.

A greatest hits package was released shortly afterwards, but it wasn't long before the star dipped out of the limelight to deal with personal issues.

She entered a rehabilitation facility in 2004 and again in 2005, and one year later troubled Whitney filed for divorce from Bobby.

The singer gained custody of their daughter and the divorce was finalised in April 2007. Slowly but surely she began to get her life back on track and in December the same year staged a long-awaited comeback, performing a selection of her greatest hits at a music festival in Kuala Lumpur.

At the event she announced she was working on a new album. I Look To You gave the iconic performer her first number one since The Bodyguard soundtrack and went platinum with sales of over one million in the US.

Unfortunately, the demons she had battled for so long caught up with her in 2012.

One of the greatest talents of her generation passed away on February 11, just hours before she was due to attend a pre-Grammys party.

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