“She was way more energetic than the young people, more excited to be in the studio, more passionate to make something outstanding,” said Mason. Bobbi Kristina, Whitney’s 18-year-old daughter with the singer Bobby Brown, was attempting to gain access to her mother’s room. Pat Houston would later blame Whitney’s death not on drugs but on “lifestyle.” She told Oprah Winfrey, “The handwriting was kind of on the wall.” The cause of death clearly went deeper than toxicology.Everyone agreed that she was also clean and sober on the set of her upcoming movie, a remake of a 1976 film called In the Beverly Hilton on February 11, a Houston aide told a VH1 crew waiting for an interview, “Whitney can’t make it . The last days of Whitney Houston began long before her arrival in Los Angeles.After Whitney’s death, the singer Chaka Khan, a friend and fellow recovering addict, spoke out about the “vampires” of the “ugly ass” music business, lambasting all those who had allowed Houston, only nine months out of rehab, to arrive in the city of temptation a week before Davis’s party: “Whoever flew her out to perform at that party should’ve provided someone to be there, to somehow keep the riffraff from out of the situation, to keep some of the dangerous people away.” In the weeks that followed, a portrait of Whitney’s sudden relapse began to emerge.She had been spotted drinking vodka in Hollywood nightclubs to celebrate the 31st birthday of her alleged boyfriend, the singer-actor Willie “Ray J” Norwood, who was famous for being Kim Kardashian’s partner on an explicit 2007 sex tape.It was all about the voice, “the voice of our time,” as the songwriter Diane Warren once called it.
There were also traces of marijuana, the muscle relaxant Flexeril, the allergy medication Benadryl, and Xanax.Following her death in a Beverly Hilton bathtub, Mark Seal investigates Houston’s final days: the prayers and the parties, the Hollywood con artist on the scene, and the message she left behind.Scheduled to appear at the pre-Grammy Awards party given annually by her mentor, the music impresario Clive Davis, on February 11, Whitney Houston arrived in Los Angeles a week early, without fanfare, and checked into the Beverly Hilton with her small entourage under the pseudonym Elizabeth Collins.The police found plates of food, a bottle of beer, and an opened bottle of champagne.On the bathroom counter were a spoon and what the coroner’s report called a “white crystal like substance.” When the initial autopsy results were released, six weeks later, they attributed Houston’s death at 48 to accidental drowning, with contributing factors of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use.