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Singer Whitney Houston dead at 48

Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images file

Singer Whitney Houston accepts the Winner of International - Favorite Artist Award onstage at the 2009 American Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Nov. 22, 2009, in Los Angeles, Calif.

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Born into a musical family, the singer's stunning voice wowed many, but drug use, erratic behavior and a tumultuous marriage ravaged her image.

Whitney Houston influenced a generation of younger singers, from Christina Aguilera to Mariah Carey, who when she first came out sounded so much like Houston that many thought it was Houston.

But by the end of her career, Houston became a stunning cautionary tale of the toll of drug use. Her album sales plummeted and the hits stopped coming; her once serene image was shattered by a wild demeanor and bizarre public appearances. She confessed to abusing cocaine, marijuana and pills, and her once pristine voice became raspy and hoarse, unable to hit the high notes as she had during her prime.

"The biggest devil is me. I'm either my best friend or my worst enemy," Houston told ABC's Diane Sawyer in an infamous 2002 interview with then-husband Brown by her side. -- Reported by the Associated Press

NBC's Jinah Kim has more on the reported circumstances surrounding the death of singer Whitney Houston.