The tragic death yesterday of the legendary singer, Whitney Houston, at the young age of 48, adds another famed celebrity to a different and undesirable walk of fame.

Whitney Houston

Yes, we still have yet to discover what happened to Houston, but suffice it to say that her history of drug and alcohol abuse leads one to consider the possibility that this may have contributed. Nobody deserves to die alone in a hotel bathtub.

Whitney Houston joins a star-studded line-up of people who succumbed to the pressures and expectations of the world – Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, John Belushi, Chris Farley, and Jimi Hendrix to name a few.

Whitney Houston and I are about the same age. We grew up at the same time in history, but on different coasts and certainly with a different skill set. Her silky smooth voice (perhaps the best female voice I’ve ever heard at her peak) gained her world fame and adulation. I never saw her sing in person, nor met her, but she impacted my life with her amazing talent, as did many of the people mentioned above. Unfortunately, as history has shown, fame often leads to intense pressure, expectations, too much money, and too many “friends.” Drug and alcohol abuse, dysfunctional relationships, depression, and other maladies can befall those stuck in the limelight.

You can’t blame people. We are all human. Had our lives been the opposite, whose to say I wouldn’t have been induced to the vices Houston admittedly fell victim to, and her maybe a happily married music teacher in Newark. That’s the ultimate tragedy. What most of us only know her as is a singer. For us, she will live on in her music. For her mother, her daughter, her close friends, and those who loved her because she was just Whitney (not because she could sing better than just about anyone else on the planet), they are left grieving and mourning because she was gone too soon for no good reason at all.

In the “old” days, celebrity was tougher to reach. Now, because of social media and reality television, it doesn’t take as much talent (if any at all) to reach a level of celebrity that blows Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes to hell. And the bad news is, the perils and vices come to those 21st century “celebs” as well. You may need to be careful of what you ask for!

Rest in peace, Whitney Houston. It’s a tragedy for the world and those who loved you. Thanks for giving us music that will last forever. I hope your story will inspire someone else to avoid the same fate.

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

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