Cowell leads tributes to Houston
Tributes have been pouring in for American singer and actress Whitney Houston, who has died at the age of 48.
Following the news, which came on the eve of this year's Grammys ceremony, fellow celebrities and contemporaries lined up to pay their respects.
Music mogul Simon Cowell described Houston as "one of the greatest singers of all time".
He wrote on Twitter: "I am so sad to hear about Whitney. We have lost one of the greatest singers of all time."
Mitch Winehouse, the father of late British singer Amy Winehouse who died last year, also paid tribute to Houston and the recently deceased Etta James on the social networking site, writing: "Amy, Etta, Whitney. Their music will NEVER die. What a great girl group in heaven. Mitch".
Winehouse, who was in Los Angeles when he heard the news, also said he was "absolutely devastated".
Showbiz journalist Dan Wootton told broadcasters: "She will be remembered as one of the voices of the 1980s and 1990s. She as a powerhouse, but unfortunately for the last 10 years we have witnessed her slow decline.
"It's something that no one would have expected. There are parallels to the shocking death of Amy Winehouse six months ago. You have to wonder what attracts these incredible voices on a path of self destruction that so often involved drug abuse."
"I am absolutely heartbroken at the news of Whitney's passing," legendary music producer Quincy Jones said in a written statement. "I always regretted not having had the opportunity to work with her. She was a true original and a talent beyond compare. I will miss her terribly."
"I just can't talk about it now," Houston's godmother, Aretha Franklin, said in a short statement. "It's so stunning and unbelievable. I couldn't believe what I was reading coming across the TV screen."