Toronto Diary
6 min

Whitney Houston is dead at 48

Well, this sucks. I’m sad to report that Whitney Houston, one of the greatest singers of our time, was found dead in her hotel room at the Beverly Hilton at the age of 48. I remember singing along in the shower to “I Have Nothing” when I was but a wee gay, and Houston provided a soundtrack for the lives of many of us in the ‘90s.

And now the awkward part of the discussion. 

I’ve been writing for various gossip blogs for about three years, which means I got to cover the deaths of such luminaries as Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse and Brittany Murphy. It does sadden me that all of them died far too early and had promising careers and lives that were never finshed, but there’s always been this one thing that bothers me:

As soon as they died, we immediately swept any mention of what might have caused their deaths under the rug.

Here’s the thing: I’ve lost a few of my closest, dearest friends to drug overdoses. Hell, that’s how I lost my first boyfriend. But their deaths didn’t entitle me to twist reality until I convinced myself they never touched a single drug in their entire lives.

You don’t fix something by pretending it isn’t broken, and we cannot progress with helping those affected by addictions by pretending that people who are addicted don’t need help or that extreme drug use can result in serious self-harm and death.

I’m willing to concede that Whitney’s COD is still up in the air and that any guessing is merely speculation, but if on the off chance that drug use may have had something to do with her early death, just like it has for many other talented people, please don’t sweep an uncomfortable truth under the rug just because it doesn’t match up with your expectations for reality.

Rest in peace, Whitney. 

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