Don't call it shocking.
Call it sad, a waste, an inevitable end to a life that started with so much promise and ended in a bathtub in Beverly Hills.
The death of Whitney Houston on Saturday filled the airwaves the rest of the weekend. No doubt, in the days to come we will hear countless "friends" discuss their close relationship with the troubled star, and the "pressures" that led to her demise. They will express their shock in the "sudden" death of the singer.
It wasn't shocking, and it wasn't sudden.
Anyone who has seen pictures, or video of Houston over the past few years could see a woman battling demons. Drugs, alcohol, pick your poison. Houston was clearly under the influence. The images of the fresh-faced beauty who mesmerized us all with the voice of an angel were replaced by a haggard, disheveled woman out of control - of her once flawless voice, of her life.
She admitted her problems publicly, sought help, and fell back into the familiar spiral of addiction. Her voice, her fortune, faded as she continued to feed her habit.
The Grammy awards on Sunday night struggled with the high wire act of celebrating success, while recognizing the loss of one of the industry's biggest stars in history. Many took to the stage and the Twitterverse over the past days to share their thoughts.
The most startling comments in the wake of Houston's death came from, of all people, Tony Bennett. The legendary singer took to the stage Saturday night to call for legalization of drugs. He said it would be better if addicts could get their fix from doctors rather than "thugs."
Ironically, it appears the two songbirds he referenced as evidence to back up his absurd statements were Amy Winehouse and Houston, who died after overdosing on alcohol and legal prescription drugs respectively. Legalizing pot or cocaine wouldn't have stopped those deaths.
It's tragic that we've lost great talents to drugs and alcohol. It's every bit as tragic when families lose loved ones who aren't "famous," but every bit as valuable, to those demons.
Instead of legalizing the instruments of death, let's continue to support efforts to help addicts to heal.