Friend: Whitney Houston 'Upbeat and Joyful' 2 Days Before Death
Monday, 13 February 2012 10:13
By the CNN Wire Staff
A singer who participated in an impromptu duet with Whitney Houston at a party two days before Houston's death said Monday she noticed nothing amiss and the superstar was "upbeat and joyful."
"She did not seem disheveled. She was dancing, she was laughing. ... We were having a good time," said Kelly Price.
"What I saw on Thursday night was not erratic behavior. I didn't see someone who was high."
Price said the party was held to celebrate her Grammy nominations. During the party, Houston took the stage unexpectedly and sang a hoarse rendition of "Jesus Loves Me" with Price.
Price said Houston's voice is "naturally raspy," but "she sounded good on Thursday night."
She acknowledged that Houston did have champagne, which "was flowing" at the party, and said she was glad to see her friend happy. "It was a genuine moment of celebration," she said.
"She was in good spirits leaving the club," Price said. "Yes, she was a little messy, as I was, as every other person was at 2, 3, 3:30 ... in the morning after having sung half the night, danced half the night."
Price said she never expected to receive the call Saturday that Houston, 48, was found dead in her suite at the upscale Beverly Hilton, just hours before she was to attend another pre-Grammys party at the hotel.
"It doesn't resonate to anything that happened on Thursday," Price said.
There were more questions than answers Monday about Houston's sudden death, as authorities were offering few details. The singer's soaring voice and impressive talent had taken a back seat in recent years to her struggles with drug addiction.
An autopsy was completed on Houston Sunday, but "there will be no cause of death at this time because it is pending toxicology reports," Ed Winter, assistant chief of the Los Angeles County Coroner's office, told reporters.
Winter declined to release the coroner's initial finding of cause of death, saying lab results were expected in six to eight weeks.
"I know there are reports that she maybe was drowned or did she overdose, but we won't make a final determination until all the tests are in," he said. Winter ruled out foul play and said there were no injuries to her body.
Winter confirmed reports that Houston was found in the bathtub of her hotel room. "I believe somebody removed her from the bathtub and the paramedics did CPR on her," he said.
Entertainment news website TMZ, citing "informed sources," reported pill bottles were found in Houston's room. CNN could not immediately confirm the TMZ report and Winter declined to comment.
Beverly Hills police have requested a "security hold" on the coroner's report, a common practice in high-profile cases that limits what can be revealed about a probe while it is ongoing.
"So there will be no additional information put out as far as what was discovered in the room, any details of that nature," Winter said.
As late as Monday morning, remembrances continued to pour in from around the world.
Nelson Mandela issued a statement extending his condolences to Houston's family and friends. He recalled how she dedicated her performance of "Greatest Love Of All" to him during a White House dinner in his honor in October 1994.
"May she rest in peace," the statement said.
Songstress Celine Dion, speaking on ABC's "Good Morning America," admitted she stays away from the "show business" scene because of its risks.
"It's just very unfortunate that drugs and, I don't know, bad people or bad influence, took over," Dion said. "It took over her dreams, it took over love and motherhood. ... When you, you know, you think about Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse, I mean, to get into drugs like that for whatever reason ... . What happens when you have the love, the support, family, motherhood, you have responsibilities of a mother and then something happens and it destroys everything?
"There's something that happens that I don't understand," she said, "and that's why I'm so scared. I'm scared of show business. I'm scared of drugs. I'm scared of hanging out. And that's why I don't do parties, and that's why I don't hang out. That's why I'm not part of show business, because we have to be afraid."
Whatever the exact cause, the grief over the death of Houston was evident Sunday at the Grammy Awards.
Host LL Cool J began his Grammy monologue by acknowledging "we've had a death in our family" and offering a prayer thanking God "for sharing our sister Whitney with us."
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