In the final days before her untimely death, Whitney Houston, seemed ready to re-emerge from her very public battles with the dark demons of drugs and alcohol that had hindered the songbird's ability to soar. National Enquirer Investigates looks into the last days of a diva in an exclusive and never-before-reported secrets and scandals of her life.
For years, family, friends and fans had sadly watched the golden girl's struggles with addictions. Her difficulties only inspired compassion and hope that she could conquer them all and share her remarkable gift with the world once again.
But, just before she passed away, there were signs that Houston was not pulling it together. The "Saving All My Love For You" singer was excited to attend her longtime friend and mentor Clive Davis's annual pre-Grammy party at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles, where she was staying.
A few days before the bash, on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012, Houston, with her hair in curlers, dropped into the rehearsals for the event. The Los Angeles Times newspaper reported how Houston interrupted an interview with Davis and singers Brandy and Monica – who were scheduled to perform a song together at the party – by dancing to make them laugh. According to the newspaper, Houston was said to have been acting strangely, skipping around a ballroom and doing handstands near the hotel pool. "Houston greeted people with a warm smile but at times appeared disheveled in mismatched clothes and with her hair dripping wet." Later Thursday evening, Houston and her daughter Bobbi Kristina, 18, were guests at Grammy nominee Kelly Price's party at the nightclub Tru Hollywood.
Houston even performed a duet with Prince in the early hours of Friday morning. The last tune anyone would hear the diva sing in public was a rendition of "Yes, Jesus Loves Me." Religion had been on Houston's mind for the last few days of her life. On Friday, she told a close friend, "I'm gonna go see Jesus ... I want to see Jesus."
Just hours before she died, she repeated her yearning for spiritual solace, discussing a bible passage and repeating, "I really want to see that Jesus." Her happy final performance hit a sour note when Houston, who was spotted drinking tequila, came off stage and clashed with singer and former X Factor contestant Stacy Francis.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Houston had seen her on-off boyfriend Ray J talking to Francis and had reportedly become jealous, even though Ray J protested to Houston that Francis was just a family friend. Houston looked exhausted and a bit rumpled as she left the club, with blood on her leg and scratches on her wrist.
On Saturday February 11 – which would turn out to be the last day of her life – Houston spoke to her cousin Dionne Warwick from ill-fated room 434 at the hotel. Warwick wanted to make sure they would sit at the same table for Davis' party.
Then, at 3:15 p.m. PST, Whitney chatted with her mom Cissy Houston in a cheerful telephone conversation just before she planned to get ready to attend the bash. She also attempted to call Ray J, but he didn't answer.
As part of her pre-party preparations, she ordered a hamburger, fries, a turkey sandwich and jalapeno peppers from room service. She snacked on the burger and fries, then carried the remaining food with her to eat while she took a bath. The singer also brought into the bathroom a gravy boat filled with olive oil, which she planned to add to the water to keep her skin smooth and soft.
But within a half hour of her phone call with her mother, at 3:43 p.m., a panicked bodyguard found Houston unresponsive in the water-filled bathtub, and hotel security was called for assistance.
Police, who were already at the Beverly Hilton for Davis' event later that evening, got to the room by 3:45 p.m., a scant two minutes after being alerted to the tragedy in progress. All attempts to resuscitate her through CPR were unsuccessful and, shockingly, Houston was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m. Beverly Hills Police Lt. Mark Rosen told reporters there were "no obvious signs of criminal intent and no obvious signs of a cause of death."
Despite the devastating events taking place nearby, the Davis party went on as planned, and the multiple Grammy winner was honored there with a moment of silence. "Whitney was a beautiful person and a talent beyond compare," Davis said in a heartfelt tribute. "She graced this stage with her regal presence and gave so many memorable performances here over the years. Simply put, Whitney would have wanted the music to go on, and her family asked that we carry on."
Officials from the Los Angeles coroner's office removed the star's body from the hotel at 1:50 a.m. Investigators found Valium, Xanax and lorazepam in the superstar's room. The drugs are known as benzodiazepines and are often prescribed for anxiety-related conditions. Authorities also found an empty can of Heineken beer and a champagne glass in the suite.
But friends say that in the phone calls to her mother and cousin Dionne, Houston gave no indication of the horrific end that was looming before her. In the hours that followed Whitney's passing, Cissy, 78, would call her daughter's death "an unimaginable tragedy." And the worldwide outpouring of grief following Whitney's unexpected end has already proved Cissy right.
Still, no matter whether her death would turn out to be an accidental overdose or the terrible result of her long addiction to drugs and alcohol, Houston touched the hearts of everyone who ever heard her heavenly voice. Even her very public battles with her demons did nothing but inspire sympathy for the legend who was taken too young. Whitney Houston was only 48 years old when her song was forever silenced, but, as she sang in her signature tune, we will always love her.
Find out more of the shocking secrets and scandals surrounding Whitney Houston's death, and her daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown's shocking passing, on this week's episode of National Enquirer Investigates, Saturday night at 9 pm PT/ET on REELZ Channel.