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Whitney Houston's death: Fans gather for Grammy Awards

February 12, 2012 |  4:47 pm

Outside Staples Center on Sunday afternoon, a crowd gathered around a commemorative plaque honoring Whitney Houston's 1994 Grammy wins for album of the year and record of the year.

A purple orchid was placed over the plaque and bystanders snapped photos. Cory Canada, of Austin, Texas, said he still couldn't believe Houston was dead.

"It's sad," he said.

Stacey Rabanal, 19, took a photo with her phone.

She said she grew up listening to Houston's songs and cried when she found out the singer had died.

"I was heartbroken," she said.

In the lobby of the nearby JW Marriott hotel, men in tuxedos and women in evening gowns sipped cocktails before the award show began at Staples Center.

Stephanie Easom, of Chicago, said tonight would be her first Grammy ceremony. She said she was excited to see the various tributes to Houston.

"It should be very amazing," she said.

Her husband, Bill Easom, was a little bit more skeptical. He said he hoped the tributes wouldn't overwhelm the show. "It's sad because you've seen her decline," he said of Houston.

Andrew Jeffries, a radio station executive, said Houston wouldn't want the celebrations to stop.

"I think it's business as usual tonight," he said.

But he acknowledged that the tone of the show would be different.

"It might be a little more tempered than normal," he said.

Shawn O'Toole, of Miami, said that although he was shocked by Houston's death, it seemed inevitable.

"I think a lot of people will share my attitude that it's something we've seen happen so many times before," he said, referencing Houston's decline. "It's unfortunate."

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-- Nicole Santa Cruz at Staples Center

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