Whitney Houston's fans in San Diego and around the globe are still in shock after hearing the news that the superstar had been found dead in a Beverly Hills hotel room.
The 48-year-old singer died Saturday, on the eve of the Grammy Awards. She had been expected to attend a pre-Grammy gala but was found dead just hours before the event. The Beverly Hills Fire Department was called at 3:30 p.m., and paramedics unsuccessfully attempted to revive Houston.
Houston was, of course, an international superstar. Still, those in the local music industry say the woman who once took over the pop charts still had an effect on them in big way.
"To work with one of the greatest singers of all time and to sit next to her in a recording studio, I'm still in awe by it," said NBC 7 San Diego technician Tina "Tiki" Antoine.
Antoine worked with Houston, including on The Bodyguard soundtrack.
"I was nervous the whole session because I was like, 'Oh, my gosh, it's Whitney Houston!" Antoine said Saturday.
Antoine's comrades in the local music industry were part of a San Diego event on Friday night at the Belo Nightclub in the Gaslamp, where the man Houston was most recently romantically linked to performed.
"It was a fun night with Ray J in the club -- and unassuming that a situation like this was going to happen," said local DJ Tre Tabalanza.
Tabalanza is among those reminiscing over the life of the woman they call the Queen of Pop.
"She is one of the many people that influenced what we do, what I wanted to do," Tabalanza said
Local industry insiders said that the pop star's songs are still being requested in 2012.
"She totally crossed the racial boundaries of Asian, white, black, everything," former San Diego DJ Nick Garcia said.
At her peak, Houston was the golden girl of the music industry. From the mid-1980s to the late 1990s, she was one of the world's best-selling artists. She wowed audiences with effortless, powerful and peerless vocals rooted in the black church but made palatable to the masses with a pop sheen.
Her success carried her beyond music to movies, where she starred in hits like "The Bodyguard" and "Waiting to Exhale."
It's a death that came too soon.
"We lost another great one," Tabalanza said. "We lost another great one."
Houston influenced a generation of younger singers, from Christina Aguilera to Mariah Carey, who when she first came out sounded so much like Houston that many thought it was Houston.
But by the end of her career, Houston became a stunning cautionary tale of the toll of drug use. Her album sales plummeted and the hits stopped coming; her once serene image was shattered by a wild demeanor and bizarre public appearances. She confessed to abusing cocaine, marijuana and pills, and her previously pristine voice became raspy and hoarse, unable to hit the high notes as she had during her prime.
"The biggest devil is me. I'm either my best friend or my worst enemy," Houston told ABC's Diane Sawyer in an infamous 2002 interview with then-husband Brown by her side.
It was a tragic fall for a superstar who was one of the top-selling artists in pop music history, with more than 55 million records sold in the United States alone.
Officials with the Los Angeles County coroner's office said an autopsy is pending.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.