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The coroner's report showed that she had accidentally drowned in the bathtub, with heart disease and cocaine use as contributing factors.
News of her death coincided with the 2012 Grammy Awards, at which she was originally scheduled to perform, and featured prominently in international media.
Houston made her screen acting debut in the romantic thriller film The Bodyguard (1992).
At the time, MTV had received harsh criticism for not playing enough videos by black, Latino, and other racial minorities while favoring white acts.
Her first two studio albums, Whitney Houston (1985) and Whitney (1987), both reached number one on the Billboard 200 in the United States.
She became the only artist to have seven consecutive number-one singles on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, from "Saving All My Love for You" in 1985 to "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" in 1988.
Some producers had to pass on the project because of prior commitments. With production from Michael Masser, Kashif, Jermaine Jackson, and Narada Michael Walden, Houston's debut album Whitney Houston was released in February 1985 and sold 25 million copies worldwide; Houston won her first Grammy Award with this LP.
Rolling Stone magazine praised Houston, calling her "one of the most exciting new voices in years" while The New York Times called the album "an impressive, musically conservative showcase for an exceptional vocal talent".