Whitney Houston, who was once the golden girl of the music industry selling over 170 million albums and singles worldwide, has died aged 48.

Kristen Foster, Houston’s publicist, confirm the news to the Associated Press overnight in the United States but would not comment on her location or the cause of her death.

Houston is one of the most awarded acts of all time, her list of awards include 2 Emmy Awards, 6 Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards, among a total of 415 career awards as of 2010.

Her death comes at a shock as insiders who say Houston was planning to stage a comeback after years of substance abuse and her controversial relationship with Bobby Brown who she divorced in 2006. According to a story in The Hollywood Reporter yesterday Houston had been approached to be one of the judges on Simon Cowell’s X Factor in the US.

Only a few months ago a spokesperson for the star confirmed reports that she had again fallen off the wagon, and entered in to an outpatient drug and alcohol treatment program, although the specifics of her addiction problem this time weren’t noted.

Foster issued a statement at the time saying “Whitney voluntarily entered the programme to support her long-standing recovery process.”

We are currently awaiting a full statement for more details.