Whitney’s death a wake up call, Kenyans say

February 12, 2012 12:20 pm

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 12 – Kenyans have paid glowing tribute to the late pop legend and actress Whitney Houston but said her sudden death should be a monumental wake-up call to substance abuse.

A section of those interviewed by Capital News said they were stunned by Houston’s demise, but highlighted the dangers of drug addiction that significantly took a toll on the musician’s health and career.

Houston, who ruled as pop music’s queen until her majestic voice was ravaged by drug use and her regal image was ruined by erratic behavior and a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown, died Saturday aged 48.

“So will your life leave a mark or a stain? #RIP #WhitneyHouston,” rapper Juliani tweeted on the news of Houston’s death.

Houston, whose hits include “I will Always Love You,” was found dead in her room at the Beverly Hilton, hours before a traditional pre-Grammys dinner hosted by veteran producer Clive Davis, who discovered her talent.

Houston — who had been due to attend the Saturday night party — was found “lifeless,” in her bathtub, but the cause of death was not immediately known.

“There were no obvious signs of criminal intent at this time, and it is being investigated by the Beverly Hills police department,” said a police spokesman on Saturday.

Also on his Twitter account local neosoul artist Anto said, “My heart weeps. My soul refuses to accept that my greatest inspiration WHITNEY HOUSTON is dead. I pray for her soul.”

Houston was pronounced dead in her Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel room at 3:55pm ( PST), according to local police.

Kenyans interviewed by Capital News in Nairobi streets said Houston’s death must not be in vain.

“Houston’s death must serve as a warning sign as her death is proof that even celebrities can’t hide from the negative effects of drugs and alcohol,” Jean Kamau said.

“This is a real wake up call for those with a drug problem. It’s time to get help, because there might be no second chance.”

They also paid tribute to the singer, who sold over 170 million records before descending into a very public battle with substance abuse.

“I was so shocked about this news. I really loved Whitney Houston with all my heart,” Houston fan Diane Kamakia told Capital News.

“What they need to do right now is talk to people about drug abuse even to the musicians who are still doing drugs. They should learn from this because this is a big star we’ve lost and she’s gone too soon,” she added.

Often referred to as “The Voice” Houston began her career in the 1980’s after signing a record deal with Arista Records in 1983 and went on to sell 170 million albums, singles and videos over the course of her career as well as win at least 411 awards.

“It’s sad but you know with drugs it’s a lesson to other musicians, they should stop taking drugs because they could die. I liked everything she did. She was a performer,” Eric Kebenei from Nairobi said.

One young Kenyan lady expressed a bit more optimism about the late singer’s career during her bout with substance abuse noting that Houston still managed to inspire many through her songs.

“I’m sad and shocked as well because Whitney really inspired me a lot especially with her songs. She built confidence in people even when she was going through those times with the drug abuse,” Lisa Ochieng said.

Meanwhile, a “security hold” has been put on the results of the autopsy of the pop legend, the LA county coroner’s office said Sunday, adding there were “no signs of foul play” in her death.

“At this time… there’s no signs of foul play,” Ed Winter, the assistant chief coroner for Los Angeles County, told reporters, echoing a police report from Saturday.

When asked about reports that Houston had several prescription drug bottles in her room, Winter said: “I’m not going to comment on any of the meds or prescriptions that were obtained. As I said, it is a security hold.”

He said the security hold was used in high-profile cases such as the deaths of pop icon Michael Jackson and actress Brittany Murphy.

Winter added that it could take six to eight weeks for toxicology results to be made public.

Asked about whether suicide was being investigated, Winter said: “We’re looking at all aspects of the case and hopefully maybe by Wednesday or Thursday this next week,” more information might be available.


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