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Days before death, Houston showed erratic behavior

By Gerrick D. Kennedy, Los Angeles Times –

Days before her death in a Los Angeles hotel, Whitney Houston behaved erratically during an appearance at a rehearsal for a Grammy awards party.

Houston died Saturday afternoon, a representative for the singer told the Associated Press. No cause of death has been announced and law enforcement sources said the singer was found in a hotel room at the Beverly Hills Hilton, where emergency medical personnel were called on Saturday.

Houston’s death came on the eve of the Grammys and on the night of Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy gala, at which she performed last year and which she was expected to attend this year. The Hilton is the scene for Davis’ annual gala. On Thursday, Houston dropped by the gala’s rehearsals to offer vocal tips for Brandy and Monica, who were slated to be one of the evening’s headliners.

Media outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, were in attendance for a junket with the reunited R&B divas and Davis. Though Houston greeted people with a warm smile, she appeared disheveled, with mismatched clothes and dripping-wet hair.

The singer displayed erratic behavior throughout the afternoon — flailing her hands frenetically as she spoke to Brandy and Monica, skipping around the ballroom in a childlike fashion and wandering aimlessly about the lobby.

“She really loves and supports us both. For me, I went through a lot of very tumultuous moments and she would show up, not just with a phone call but physically when I needed,” Monica said when asked about Houston coaching them. “That’s something that I’ve carried with me, especially with all that she’s been going through over the years herself. She’s never turned her back on the people she cared about.”

Later Thursday, Houston appeared at Hollywood nightclub Tru for a pre-Grammy party hosted by fellow R&B singer Kelly Price. “Kelly Price & Friends Unplugged: For the Love of R&B” served as both a celebration and a jam session to preserve that genre, which was scaled back from eight Grammy categories to four this year.

Houston was billed as one of the evening’s special invited guests. Looking more put-together than earlier in the day, Houston briefly sang a duet with Price in what was likely her final performance.

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