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Cowell: Houston was the benchmark
02:48 - Source: CNN

Share your thoughts about the passing of musical superstar Whitney Houston.

Story highlights

Celebrities express sadness after learning about Whitney Houston's death

Simon Cowell: "One of the greatest voices of our lifetime"

Quincy Jones: "She was a true original and a talent beyond compare"

Christina Aguilera: "Her notes soared to places most singers dream of reaching"

CNN  — 

The sudden death of singer Whitney Houston at age 48 shocked fans and musicians all over the world. The outpouring of grief was immediate, with one common refrain: The world had lost one of its greatest singers.

Nearly all of the trends on Twitter worldwide were shortly associated with the singer’s death: R.I.P Whitney Houston, #DearWhitney, #IWillAlwaysLoveYou, The Bodyguard, Bobby Brown and Wanna Dance With Somebody.

“The first full hour after the news broke saw 2,481,652 tweets and retweets, peaking at 61,227 tweets at 5:23 p.m. (all times are PST),” according to Topsy.com, which indexes and ranks results based on the most influential conversations on social media

“That is over a thousand tweets a second, not quite as much as during the Superbowl but still a lot.”

Beyonce Knowles

“The loss of Whitney Houston is painful. I remember meeting Whitney for the first time when I was 15. She was the ultimate legend. The ultimate woman. Not only was she confident, poised, stunningly beautiful and intelligent, but she was sincere and kind. She took the time to make everyone feel like they were very important to her. I, like every singer, always wanted to be just like her. Her voice was perfect. Strong but soothing. Soulful and classic. Her vibrato, her cadence, her control. So many of my life’s memories are attached to a Whitney Houston song. She is our queen and she opened doors and provided a blueprint for all of us. God bless her. “

Celine Dion:

“I’m in shock. Whitney was such an amazing artist. When I started my English career, I wanted to be like her. I loved her so much. My prayers go out to her daughter and to all of her family.”

Whoopi Goldberg:

“The loss of an icon and superstar like Whitney Houston is devastating. However, it can’t compare to the loss of a mother, daughter, niece and friend, so my heart goes out to her family, to whom she was so much more.”

Yoko Ono:

“She was a woman of brave and beautiful soul. I feel sad that she had to go.”

David Foster, producer:

“There is not a word that describes my reaction… It doesn’t exist in the English language.. .This was the voice that record producers dreamed of working with… I got butterflies.. She was pure magic. She was iconic … I had the  pleasure and privilege of having an up close and personal front row seat  to the greatest of them all.”

Russell Simmons:

“My thoughts and prayers are with her beautiful child and her entire family. This is a tough time for the entire music community, as we all loved Whitney. May she rest in peace and may we all dance with somebody tonight.”

Barry Manilow:

“My heart goes out to her family, to Clive (Davis, Houston’s mentor), and to everyone who knew and loved this amazingly talented and beautiful artist. I will always love her.”

Christina Aguilera:

“Whitney’s voice was so special to me. Her notes soared to places most singers dream of reaching. She will be missed.”

Kelly Rowland:

“I am beyond heartbroken. Whitney Houston was undoubtedly one of the greatest singers and performers of all time and such a huge influence on me.”

Mariah Carey:

Heartbroken and in tears … 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.”

Smokey Robinson:

“I’ve known Whitney since she was a little girl and I loved her. She was like family to me. I will miss her.”

Gloria Estefan:

“Sending prayers of peace and solace to her family, friends & fans! Such a loss! Whitney was always so sweet to me! Was rooting for her through her struggles! Such a shame … I’m truly saddened by this news!”

Aretha Franklin:

“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.”

Simon Cowell:

“You’re going to remember where you were when you heard the news. It’s that significant. She was undoubtedly one of the greatest superstars of all time. One of the greatest voices in our lifetime we’re likely ever to hear. And to hear this news, it really, really, really upset me. It really has.”

Quincy Jones:

“I am absolutely heartbroken at the news of Whitney’s passing. Ashford & Simpson first made me aware of Whitney when she was just 16, and 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.”

Paul Shaffer:

“What a voice. What a beauty. What an actress. She had everything and she made us all feel so good when we heard her.”

Britney Spears:

“I was the biggest fan of hers. She influenced me so much. She sent so much love out to the world and she was an inspiration for so many people, and we’re there with her.”

Michelle Williams, of Destiny’s Child:

“Whitney was my musical hero … the reason why I wanted to sing. I will never forget the voice.”

Bruno Mars:

“This is terrible news. I’m sick to my stomach. Nobody sang like Whitney. I hate this feeling.”

Jessica Simpson:

“I found my voice singing Whitney Houston’s music. Today I lost my idol.”

Berry Gordy, founder of Motown Records:

“Whitney Houston was not only an amazing artist but also a beautiful person. She was so smart and her knowledge and appreciation for the musical art form was remarkable. Every time we would see each other, we always had wonderful conversations about life and the business.”

Cee-Lo Green:

“R.I.P. Sister WHITNEY HOUSTON!!!!! We will always love you.”

Ricky Martin:

“RIP Whitney Houston. Sending my love and deepest condolences to her family and friends. Fly Whitney Fly.”

Nicki Minaj:

“Jesus Christ, not Whitney Houston. Greatest of all time.”

Dolly Parton:

“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.’”

Kenny Lattimore, R&B singer:

“Whitney Houston, the singers’ singer and voice that inspired the world. Many emulated, but there is only one Whitney.”

Marc Anthony:

“I can’t believe it …Rest in Peace Whitney. Descanses.”

Deborah Cox:

“I am deeply saddened and touched to the core of this news of my musical mentor Whitney Houston. I’ll always love you. xo”

Star Jones:

“I can’t watch any more news. It’s too painful when a sister-friend passes; don’t want analysis … want reflection. RIP #Whitney.”

Magic Johnson:

“R.I.P. Whitney Houston. Our prayers go out to Bobbi Kristina and her family.”

Nick Lachey:

“How tragic to hear about Whitney Houston’s passing. Such a shame. She had one of the most iconic voices of my lifetime.”

Clay Aiken:

“RIP Whitney Houston. The soundtrack of so many lives. I’m sure heaven reverberates (to)nite with the sound of (your) voice. It always was angelic.”

T.D. Jakes, producer of “Sparkle,” Houston’s yet-to-be-released last movie:

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic and untimely passing of Whitney Houston, whom we were blessed to have just completed work with on the remake of the film “Sparkle.” … At the apex of her career, Whitney had no peer, with a voice that shaped a generation.”

Gov. Chris Christie:

“Whitney Houston was a true New Jersey treasure. Her terribly premature death is an awful loss for her family and the incredible New Jersey musical family. Her soaring talent put her in the pantheon of great New Jersey musical talents like Frank Sinatra, Count Basie and Bruce Springsteen.”