Whitney Houston dead: Mariah Carey, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj pay tribute as music world mourns shock death of Whitney Houston at 48


'Heartbroken and in tears': Mariah Carey, Dolly Parton and Aretha Franklin pay tribute as music world mourns shock death of Whitney Houston at 48

As news spread of the unexpected death of Whitney Houston on Saturday evening, celebrities flocked to Twitter to pay their respects to the 'beautiful and talented' singer and actress.

Stars, from musicians to television personalities and business leaders, expressed their sadness at the news, praised the singer's unmatched talent and passed on their wishes to her bereaved family.

Others expressed their shock at how the award-winning singer passed away at the age of just 48.

Music world in mourning: Mariah Carey, pictured here performing When You Believe with Whitney Houston at the 1999 Acadamy Awards, lead tributes to the singer following her shock death today

Music world in mourning: Mariah Carey, pictured here performing When You Believe with Whitney Houston at the 1999 Acadamy Awards, lead tributes to the singer following her shock death today

'Heartbroken and in tears over the shocking death of my friend, the
incomparable Ms. Whitney Houston,' said Mariah Carey, who recorded the Academy Award-winning song When You Believe with the late star in 1998.

'My heartfelt condolences to Whitney’s
family and to all her millions of fans throughout the world. She will
never be forgotten as one of the greatest voices to ever grace the
earth.'

'Shocked we've lost the immensely
talented Whitney Houston!' wrote fellow singer Gloria Estefan. Sending prayers of peace & solace 2 her
family, friends & fans! Such a loss! Such an amazing talent!'

Mariah's husband Nick Cannon added: 'Tell our loved ones how much we love them while they're still here. I wish I could've told Whitney how great she was one last time.'

Dolly Parton, who wrote I Will Always
Love You, said, 'mine is only one of the millions of hearts broken over
the death of Whitney Houston. I will always be grateful and in awe of
the wonderful performance she did on my song and I can truly say from
the bottom of my heart, “Whitney, I will always love you. You will be
missed.'”

Music world in mourning: Mariah Carey, pictured here performing When You Believe with Whitney Houston at the 1999 Acadamy Awards, lead tributes to the singer following her shock death today

Music world in mourning: Mariah Carey, pictured here performing When You Believe with Whitney Houston at the 1999 Acadamy Awards, lead tributes to the singer following her shock death today

Last picture: Whitney was last pictured in public looking worse for wear at Tru nightclub in Hollywood on Thursday

Last picture: Whitney was last pictured in public looking worse for wear at Tru nightclub in Hollywood on Thursday

Singer Aretha Franklin said: 'I just
can't talk about it now. It's so stunning and unbelievable. I couldn't
believe what I was reading coming across the TV screen. My heart goes
out to Cissy (Houston's mother), her daughter Bobbi Kris, her family and
Bobby (Brown).'

Houston was found dead in her room on
the fourth floor of the Beverly Hilton. Houston's publicist, Kristen
Foster, said Saturday that the cause of her death was unknown.

Houston's death came on the eve of
music's biggest night – the Grammy Awards. It's a showcase where she
once reigned, and her death was sure to case a heavy pall on Sunday's
ceremony.

Her longtime
mentor Clive Davis was to hold his annual concert and dinner Saturday;
it was unclear if it was going to go forward.

Houston
was supposed to appear at the gala, and Davis has previously said that
she would perhaps perform: 'It's her favorite night of the year … (so)
who knows by the end of the evening.'

Rappers and singers today expressed grief and shock over the news.

Rihanna tweeted: 'No words! Just tears #DearWhitney'

The Umbrella singer was attending a rehearsal for the Grammy Awards tonight, but admitted she was unable to focus.

She admitted: 'I honestly can't think of anything else!!! Feels so strange being at the Grammy rehearsal right now!!'

Nicki Minaj wrote: 'Jesus Christ, not Whitney Houston. Greatest of all time.'

'I
am absolutely heartbroken at the news of Whitney's passing,' 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.'

'A
light has been dimmed in our music community today, and we extend our
deepest condolences to her family, friends, fans and all who have been
touched by her beautiful voice.' – Neil Portnow, president and CEO of
the Recording Academy.

'I truly, truly adored Whitney
Houston,' said Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child. 'Her album 'I'm
Your Baby Tonight' was the very first album I ever bought.'

Grief: Rihanna revealed she was struggling to focus during the Grammy rehearsals in LA tonight

Grief: Rihanna revealed she was struggling to focus during the Grammy rehearsals in LA tonight

'Greatest of all time': Nicki Minaj was clearly shocked by the news

'Greatest of all time': Nicki Minaj was clearly shocked by the news

Country singer LeAnn Rimes tweeted: 'I
can't stop crying. I have a show to do soon. Wow, I learned how to do
what I do because of 3 great women, one being Whitney. She was always so
kind to me. This is not gonna be an easy show for sure. I'm doing what
she taught me to do by listening to her records over & over as a
little girl. Her death is very surreal.'

Barry
Manilow said: 'I can't believe that Whitney is gone. My heart goes out
to her family, to Clive (Davis), and to everyone who knew and loved this
amazingly talented and beautiful artist. I will always love her.' –

Rev. Al Sharpton called for a national prayer tomorrow to honor Houston and support her family, adding: 'The morning of the Grammys, the world should pause and pray for the memory of a gifted songbird.'

'I've
know Whitney since she was a little girl and I loved her,' said Smokey
Robinson. 'She was like family to me. I will miss her.'

'R.I.P': Katy Perry described the singer's death as 'devastating'

'R.I.P': Katy Perry described the singer's death as 'devastating'

R&B singer Akon, who worked with Houston on the 2009 song Like I Never Left, wrote: 'We've lost another Legend. RIP WHITNEY HOUSTON. I'm Honored to have had the chance to work with such an amazing human being.'

Rapper Ludacris added: 'R.I.P WHITNEY HOUSTON. ONE OF THE PUREST SOULS I'VE EVER MET IN MY LIFE.'

R&B singer Usher Raymond described the star as 'a true icon of our time. Gone too soon.'

Musician Bret Michaels, the former
front man of rock band Poison, shared the experience of his first
meeting with Houston while he was on tour in Rome.

'Tragedy': Jazz legend Tony Bennett called her one of the 'greatest singers'

'Tragedy': Jazz legend Tony Bennett called her one of the 'greatest singers'

She had the X Factor: Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid both posted messages about the star, whose songs are always a audition favourites

She had the X Factor: Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid both posted messages about the star, whose songs are always a audition favourites

A true star with the X Factor: Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid both posted messages about the star, whose songs are always a audition favourites

'I couldn't sleep so I went down to
the lobby, he wrote. 'There she was sitting on the couch reading a book,
apparently she couldn't sleep either.

We sat and hung out chatting for quite
a while. She was awesome. Over the years, we ran into each other at
several other events. W”hat a great person with a great voice and
amazing talent. She will be missed.'

Other musicians flocked to Twitter to express their grief at the 'huge loss' to the industry.

British singer and and rapper Jay Sean added: 'This is such a
huge loss to music. She was the true definition of a vocalist. So sad.'

Lenny Kravitz wished that the singer 'rest in peace,' adding, 'There will never be another like you.'

LA
Reid added: 'I am completely devastated by the loss of the greatest
voice of all time! R.I.P. Whitney Houston. I will always love you!'

But it was not just the music industry that felt the influence of Houston, with other celebrities expressing their condolences and thanks to the award-winning singer.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg tweeted: 'R.I.P. Whitney Houston. Thank you for the amazing music you brought into the world.'

'Stunned by Whitney Houston's death
at just 48,' Piers Morgan wrote on the social networking site. 'One of
the greatest voices ever heard. #RIP.'

Socialite Paris Hilton added: 'So sad to hear the news about Whitney
Houston. She was such a beautiful and talented woman. My heart goes
out to her family. RIP.'

Scores of celebrities could say little more than that they were 'stunned' and 'shocked' by the news.

E! host Ryan Seacrest wrote: 'At
Grammys rehearsal hearing Whitney Houston has passed away at 48.
Everyone here is absolutely stunned.'

Kim Kardashian wrote: 'Just heard the tragic news that Whitney Houston passed away. I pray for her daughter & loved ones. We will always love you Whitney…'

Kim's sister added: 'Just heard Whitney Houston passed away 🙁 many
prayers go out to her family and all who are grieving the loss of an
icon. So sad… RIP.'