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Whitney Houston Dead at 48

Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic(LOS ANGELES) -- Whitney Houston, the most awarded female music artist of all time, has died, ABC News Radio has confirmed.  She was 48.  

The Beverly Hills Police Department issued a statement that declared, in part, "At 3:43, the Beverly Hills PD got an emergency call from the Beverly Hills hotel. ...At 3:55 this afternoon, Houston was pronounced dead at the hotel. ...No obvious signs of criminal intent at this time." 

Whitney's mother, Cissy Houston, as well as her cousin, Dionne Warwick, spoke to Whitney by telephone less than a half-hour before her death, according to TMZ.com.  They reportedly talked about Houston's scheduled appearance at record exec Clive Davis' annual Grammy part Saturday night and Houston seemed "fine," according to TMZ, which also describes Cissy Houston as "hysterical" and Warwick as "an absolute mess."

Despite Houston's death, a spokesperson for RCA records tells ABC News Radio that Davis' Grammy party is scheduled to go on as planned. 

WATCH: ABC's David Muir reports on Whitney Houston's death for World News:

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Houston was seen on Thursday at another pre-Grammy party and the Hollywood Reporter  says she was described as acting "belligerent."  On Friday, news broke that she was being approached for a seat on the judges' panel on The X Factor.  A source close to Clive Davis, who discovered Houston, told the Hollywood Reporter, "This is a sad day and it will be a sad Grammys weekend." 

Aretha Franklin also issued a statement expressing shock at Houston's passing.  "I just can't talk about it now," says Franklin.  "It's so stunning and unbelievable.  I couldn't believe what I was reading coming across the TV screen.  My heart goes out to Cissy, her daughter Bobbi Kris, her family and Bobby [Brown]."

New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, NJ, where Houston sang in the choir when she was younger, will hold a special prayer service Sunday morning at 6:30 a.m. ET.  Church Pastor Joe A. Carter called Houston "A treasure on a global scale and, on a personal note, with our church family."

SLIDESHOW: Whitney Houston Dies: Icon Through the Years

In her storied career, Houston sold over 170 million albums and singles worldwide, and won six Grammy Awards, two Emmys and countless other honors.  The cousin of Dionne Warwick and goddaughter of Aretha Franklin, Whitney grew up singing in the church, and as a teenager, she worked as a backing vocalist, sometimes appearing onstage with her mother, singer Cissy Houston.  In the early '80s, Houston became a model but continued to sing; Clive Davis signed her to Arista Records in 1983 after he saw her perform in a nightclub.

Whitney's 1985 self-titled debut album was a massive hit, as was the follow-up, 1987's Whitney. Together, they produced massive hits like "How Will I Know," "I Wanna Dance with Somebody," "The Greatest Love of All," "So Emotional," "Saving All My Love for You" and "Where Do Broken Hearts Go."

Houston branched out into acting with The Bodyguard, and scored her signature hit "I Will Always Love You" from that movie's soundtrack. Waiting to Exhale and The Preacher's Wife followed.  She had recently wrapped filming on Sparkle, a remake of the 1976 film of the same name, in which she portrayed the mother of an up-and-coming singer played by Jordin Sparks. The film is set to be released in August. 

Houston married singer Bobby Brown in 1992, a move many felt was controversial, due to his "bad boy" image.  They had a daughter, Bobbi Kristina, and finally divorced in 2007 after a tumultuous relationship.

EARLIER: Watch ABC's David Muir break the news of Whitney Houston's death:

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Houston's struggles with substance abuse, which she owned up to in various interviews over the past decade, often overshadowed her musical accomplishments.  She went to rehab twice and declared herself drug-free in 2010.  Her 2009 album I Look to You was hailed as her comeback album, but her performances to support it were disappointing, with some fans walking out of shows.

Whitney Houston influenced a generation of musical performers, including Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera and nearly every female singer who ever appeared on American Idol.  Mariah Carey tweeted Saturday night, "Heartbroken and in tears over the shocking death of my friend, the incomparable Ms. Whitney Houston. My heartfelt condolences to Whitney’s family and to all her millions of fans throughout the world. She will never be forgotten as one of the greatest voices to ever grace the earth.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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