Russians joined the world Sunday in mourning the death of singer and actress Whitney Houston, who passed away suddenly at the age of 48.
Houston, who was in Los Angeles to attend a pre-Grammy Award gala, was found dead Saturday in her room at the Beverly Hills hotel. Police said an autopsy would be conducted to determine the cause of her unexpected death, The Associated Press reported.
"We cherish the memory," Arkady Dvorkovich, an economic aide to President Dmitry Medvedev,
Houston was one of the world's best-selling artists from the mid-1980s to the late 1990s. Her fame with Russian audiences came in 1992, after she played the leading part in the international hit film "The Bodyguard."
She had planned to come to Russia in the early 2000s for a series of concerts, but cancelled citing instability in the country, the Itar-Tass state news agency reported at the time.
Houston ultimately made her first Russian tour in February 2004, just days after a suicide bomber killed 40 people in the Moscow metro. She donated part of the money from her concerts to a fund helping victims of the attack.
She returned to Russia for a tour in 2009 and during her Moscow concert, Houston dedicated one of her songs, "Look To You," to the 156 people who had died days before in a nightclub fire in Perm.
Houston had admitted to struggling with drug problems for years.
"Whitney Houston is gone. Six years ago we dined together. She looked lost and did drugs," Russian socialite and TV host Ksenia Sobchak wrote on Twitter, posting a video of Houston's most popular song, "I Will Always Love You."
Reports of her death led Sunday's morning news broadcasts on Russian television.