When Michael Jackson died suddenly in 2009, aged just 50, I was saddened and shocked but inevitably not surprised at the news. He had lived such a rollercoaster life in the limelight that it almost seemed inevitable that he would be shot down in controversial circumstances, such was the way that he lived his life. It was nevertheless a shock on hearing the news.
A Gifted Songbird
But today's news that Whitney Houston has died aged just 48 has more than shocked and saddened me. It has truly upset me in a way the death of Michael Jackson didn't.
I was a fan of both. I had his greatest hits and I'll admit it now that I long ago bought her greatest hits too and for good reason.
Whitney of course came from a cherished line of prodigious talent. Her mother was gospel singer Cissy Houston, she was a cousin to singer Dionne Warwick as well as having Aretha Franklin as a godmother. But her troubled marriage to Bobby Brown and her later life of excess would ultimately prove to be her undoing.
One Moment in Time
For me, there is one song in her repertoire that I adore above all others. Is it because I'm a sporting fan? Yes very possibly but her official anthem for the USA team at the 1988 Seoul Olympics for me, epitomised perfectly what it was meant to do. It's an inspirational anthem which I feel is undervalued and often forgotten when laid alongside her other many hits.
Here is Whitney giving us One Moment in Time, ironically at the same Grammy Awards that she was supposed to be attending tonight before her untimely death.
Poigniantly at this time, I can do no more than conclude with her final lyrics.
"I will be free"
You are now. RIP Whitney Houston.