Singer Whitney Houston dead at 48

Singer Whitney Houston was found dead in a Beverly Hills hotel Saturday afternoon, just hours before she was to attend a gala event in advance of Sunday’s Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (Grammy) Awards.  Local cops have said that she was found alone (in a bathtub reportedly) with no obvious signs of foul play or trauma.  An autopsy will be performed in the next 24-48 hours, but you don’t have to be a forensic psychologist to predict what it will show.  First of all, regardless of the cause, this is of course a profound personal loss to Houston’s family and friends, as well as the loss of a gifted American talent, for which we can all sympathize.  Secondly, to the extent that substance abuse culminated in this loss, both directly and cumulatively, even if it wasn’t an intentional suicide in the moment, I think that’s probably still what it was — at least gradually, little by little, over time.  Some may feel that I shouldn’t even mention that possibility so soon after the news of Houston’s passing, but I continue to believe that the greatest value in my reporting on deadly tragedies all the time is the wisdom that can be gleaned from them and imparted to the living.  So, in this context, I’d ask readers and viewers, especially young ones, “Do you believe that you could get so addicted to a substance that your life could end similarly?”  Then, regardless of what they said they believed could happen, I’d advise them to steer completely clear of substance abuse so as not to ever find out.  Stay tuned for more on the cause of Houston’s death and on the role of substances therein (toxicology should take a week to ten days to perform and perhaps several weeks to be released to the public), including the involvement, if any, of the “Hollywood health care” (doctors liberally prescribing to celebrities) that we’ve seen implicated in the deaths of such stars as Anna Nicole Smith and Michael Jackson in recent years.  In the meantime, r.i.p., Whitney Houston.

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