Whitney Houston's death: Hotel guests stunned at news
Guests arriving for a pre-Grammy party at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Saturday night were abuzz with the news of the death of Whitney Houston, who died earlier in her room at the hotel.
“Everybody is talking about it; the mood has changed from excited about the party to sadness,” said Carolyn Blazer, a guest who frequently travels with her family from Colorado to Los Angeles during Grammy weekend. She said they always stay at the hotel because they like to see all the celebrities who attend music mogul Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy party.
Houston, 48, was among the performers planning to attend Davis' party along with Quincy Jones, Tony Bennett, Sean "Puffy" Combs, Jennifer Hudson, Diana Krall and others.
Blazer said she had just returned from a trip downtown Saturday afternoon when she saw an ambulance parked outside the main entrance of the Wilshire Boulevard hotel. She said another hotel guest told her that Houston’s room was apparently on the fourth floor because part of the floor was cordoned off by emergency personnel.
Julia O’Reilly, another hotel guest who was in the lobby area directly across the entrance to the International Ballroom, where music could be heard coming from inside as guests trickled into the party, said she had just returned to the hotel an hour earlier and heard the news.
“I hope she didn’t do anything crazy,” she said of Houston. “Nobody here is showing any feelings or sadness. But the best actors and singers always say the show must go on.”
Friends found Houston in her hotel room about 3:30 p.m. and immediately called 911, said sources, who asked to remain anonymous because the investigation is ongoing. Arriving emergency medical personnel found the singer unresponsive, and she was pronounced dead shortly before 4 p.m.
-- Ricardo Lopez at Beverly Hilton and Andrew Blankstein
Photo: A cameraman shoots views of the Beverly Hilton Hotel a few hours before the scheduled Clive Davis And The Recording Academy's 2012 Pre-Grammy Gala And Salute To Industry Icons in Beverly Hills. Credit: Mladen Antonov / AFP/Getty Images