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Whitney Houston autopsy expected as probe into death begins

Policeentourage

The Los Angeles County coroner's office said Sunday it is now in possession of Whitney Houston's body and that an autopsy should be performed in the next 24 hours.

Houston was found dead in a room at the Beverly Hilton hotel hours before she was set to attend a pre-Grammys gala. Authorities said they don't know how Houston, 48, died, but they said foul play does not appear to be involved.

"There were no obvious signs of criminal intent," Beverly Hills Police Lt. Mark Rosen said.

PHOTOS: Whitney Houston | 1963-2012

Both the L.A. County coroner's office and the Beverly Hills Police Department are investigating her death.

Paramedics performed CPR for about 20 minutes before the pop star was declared dead.

The Beverly Hills Fire Department said it was called to the hotel about 3:30 p.m. and Houston was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m.

Houston's death cast a shadow over the Grammy Awards, which take place Sunday evening, and brought tributes to the singer from around the world.

 PHOTOS: Stars react to Whitney Houston's death

Grammys Executive Producer Ken Ehrlich and his team were scrambling Saturday night to find a poignant and proper way to mark her passing, and their plan was to have Jennifer Hudson perform a "respectful musical tribute" on the CBS broadcast on Sunday night.

"It's too fresh in everyone's memory to do more at this time, but we would be remiss if we didn't recognize Whitney's remarkable contribution to music fans in general, and in particular her close ties with the Grammy telecast and her Grammy wins and nominations over the years," said Ehrlich, a key figure in the Grammys since the early 1980s.

Houston had been  planning to attend music industry titan Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy party Saturday at the Beverly Hilton.

Late Saturday, Davis told those assembled at the party that he had a "heavy heart" and was "personally devastated" by Houston's death, but "simply put, Whitney would have wanted the music to go on, and her family has asked for us to carry on."

Houston had drug and alcohol problems for years, and in May her spokeswoman said she was going back to rehab.

Houston was known for such hits as "How Will I Know," "Saving All My Love for You" and "I Will Always Love You." She also starred in movies, including  "The Bodyguard."

[For the record, 9:30 a.m. Feb. 12: An earlier version of this post misspelled the last name of Grammys Executive Producer Ken Ehrlich as Erhlich.]

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Whitney Houston appreciation: A voice for the ages tarnished by addictions

-- Andrew Blankstein and Geoff Boucher

Photo: Beverly Hills police vehicles and a security worker at the back of the Beverly Hilton. Credit: Robyn Beck /AFP/Getty Images

 
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