Her final years had seen Whitney less in the public eye, following her 2007 divorce. She released a comeback album in 2009 that topped the charts and went platinum, and she publicly proclaimed that she was winning her battle with drugs. Her voice had been badly damaged by the years of abuse, however, and she would later return to rehab.
Her death at the age of 48 sent shockwaves through the music world, with an array of stars paying tribute. Soul legend Aretha Franklin – Houston’s godmother – said that the news was ‘stunning and unbelievable’. Former husband Brown, currently performing with a reunited New Edition, paid an emotional on-stage tribute, saying: ‘ I would like to say, I love you Whitney. The hardest thing for me to do is to come on this stage.’