Forced To Deny...

[From The Telegraph]

Whitney Houston forced to deny she is dying
by Hugh Davies, Entertainment Correspondent
(Filed: 15/09/2001)

RUMOURS about the health of pop singer Whitney Houston have reached such a pitch that her management yesterday reassured fans that she was not dying.

Nancy Seltzer, her publicist, said: "I've just spoken to Whitney. She is perfectly fine and does not understand why, with everything going on in the world right now, they have to find new rumours to dig up."

The soul singer caused astonishment a week ago with her emaciated look at Michael Jackson's 30th anniversary concert in New York. There were gasps from the audience when she appeared on stage looking frail and skeletal.

Critics wondered if she has succumbed to an illness like Karen Carpenter, who died in 1983 after suffering from anorexia. Then, with no explanation, Houston failed to turn up for a second show on Monday.

The New York Daily News reported that sources close to her entourage were confirming she has a "substance abuse problem - and refuses to do anything about it".

Ms Seltzer said: "Whitney has been under stress due to family matters, and when she is under stress, she doesn't eat. She's fine. She thanks everyone for their concern, but she's at home with her family. I don't know who is spreading this."

Houston, 37, who recently signed a recording contract worth 71 million with Arista Records, has repeatedly denied that she had a drug problem, professing she is baffled at the concern over her private life.

She said: "They think there's more to know. Ain't nothing up my sleeve." However, there are fears that her condition is spiralling out of control. Morristown Memorial hospital near her mansion in New Jersey denied that she had been treated.

Her father, John, is said to have written to her, saying:"These past six months your personal and professional life have been in constant turmoil."

It is becoming increasing clear that those close to her are becoming extremely concerned about her health. At an Oscar rehearsal, she was described as being in her own world, playing an invisible piano as she walked around in circles "completely out of it".

Her mother, the gospel singer [Cissy] Houston, and two drug specialists, had apparently sat with her in a room at the Beverly Hills Hilton for several hours asking her to seek help.

Her singer husband, Bobby Brown, [34], had been taken to hospital after security guards had found him "ranting and raving" in the hotel lobby.

Last month, Houston's brother Michael, 40, was charged with criminal possession of cocaine and marijuana, and with being under the influence of a controlled substance.

The same night, Brown was rushed to a New Jersey hospital after he was said to have been overcome by heat exhaustion. There were reports that he and his wife were engaged in a "marathon" cocaine session when he fell unconscious.

NEWSFILE: 15 SEPTEMBER 2001

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