Arts & Entertainment

Whitney Houston fans pay tribute at hotel where pop singer died

Flower tributes are left at the Beverly Hilton Hotel for Whitney Houston in the early hours of Feb. 12, 2012 in L.A. She had died hours before at the hotel.
Flower tributes are left at the Beverly Hilton Hotel for Whitney Houston in the early hours of Feb. 12, 2012 in L.A. She had died hours before at the hotel.
Toby Canham/Getty Images

A shrine of roses and lit candles stood on Saturday night near the Beverly Hilton Hotel at the intersection of Santa Monica and Wilshire, where fans of superstar Whitney Houston paid their respects. The legendary entertainer died in the hotel Saturday afternoon.

“It’s a real tear jerker that she had to go like that," said Connie Gordon of Cleveland, Ohio. "[She] died alone. That’s just so sad.” Gordon came to Los Angeles to attend the Grammys.

Thirty-four-year-old Karen Babajide of L.A. said she'll remember the pop artist for pulling through tough times.

“And that’s what I admire about her," said Babajide. "Anytime you can fall face down on the ground and pick yourself back up it’s amazing.”

Gloria Barber of L.A. most remembers a pregnant Houston in the 1993 video “I’m Every Woman” from the “The Bodyguard” soundtrack.

“She had her baby girl a month before I had my son and just her music and just all that she went through - just watching her life and it’s just sad,” Barber said.

Biggs Smith believes Houston’s celebrity worsened her struggle with drug addiction. Smith is a recovering alcoholic who’s 10 years sober.

“As long as you’re signing the check people look the other way," said Smith. "And that’s the sad part about it.”

Actor Monet Mitchell of Philadelphia filmed a small role several months ago in a movie Houston starred in: a remake of the 1976 classic “Sparkle.” Houston was also an executive producer on the film, which is reportedly scheduled to be released in August.

“She made me feel welcome," Mitchell said. "She told jokes and she definitely had a little diva, a little attitude with her. But if you’re a legend, you have to exude that confidence. But she also cared about people.”

Legendary record executive Clive Davis, who discovered and mentored Houston, hosted his annual pre-Grammy party at the hotel hours after Houston's death. Artists attending the party, where Houston had been scheduled to appear, doled out responses on the red carpet. They included Sheila E, who stopped to talk with NBC4.

"She was a wonderful person. She was a great friend. And, I’ll remember, she recently came to the last two performances that I just had here in LA. She was having a great time," she said.

Also among the attendees was producer Jimmy Jam, who had worked with Houston.

"There’s some bit of irony that Clive Davis was the one that introduced us and he’ll be the one to lead us through tonight, I think in a celebratory fashion," Jam said.

Jazz pianist Herbie Hancock attended the party with a heavy heart.

"This is going to change everything, but the spirit of Whitney Houston and her connection with the Grammys is going to be married in an incredible way," Hancock said.

The Grammy Awards start tonight a 5 p.m. at the Staples Center and will air on CBS at 8 p.m.