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Pop legend Whitney Houston, was the vocal star of a generation who inspired millions of fans before conquering tragedies.

The R & B singer regarded as one of the world's best singers, died on Saturday in Beverly Hills, California, at the age of 48, on the eve of the Grammy Awards.

Coming from a musical family that included mother Cissy Houston, a gospel star, and Dionne Warwick, her cousin, she started out as a teen model and then made a dazzling segue to music.

She released her self-titled debut album in 1985 after being discovered by record producer Clive Davis, sold 25 million copies worldwide.

In all, she released seven albums and three film soundtracks - a winner of six Grammys, Houston sold over 200 million albums and singles worldwide. She earned 30 Billboard Awards, 22 American Music Awards and two Emmy Awards.

Her biggest best-known songs include "I will Always Love You" and "Saving All my Love for You" .. which were mega hits..She even released seven studio albums, the most recent in 2009.

She also acted and appeared in movies including The Bodyguard in 1992 with Kevin Costner and The Preacher's Wife, with Denzel Washington, and Waiting to Exhale.

A major career setback after admitting drug use during an abusive relationship with ex-husband Bobby Brown weakened.

But Houston shared a close relationship with her daughter 19-year old daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown. Despite divorcing in 2007, Houston and her ex-husband Bobby Brown did their best to keep things civil for the sake of their daughter.

However, he last 10 years of Houston's life were dominated by drug use, rumours of relapses and trips to rehab. In an interview, she had admitted using marijuana, cocaine, alcohol and prescription drugs. In 2009 she launched a comeback tour and in

April 2010 she called media reports she was using drugs again "ridiculous." Later in May 2011, Houston enrolled in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation programme.