Bobbi Kristina Brown, the daughter of the late Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, died on Sunday, July 26, 2015 at the age of 22, at Peachtree Christian Hospice in Duluth, GA. Her passing came nearly eight months after she was found unresponsive in the bathtub in her home outside of Atlanta on January 31.
Born on March 4, 1993 to the then-reigning queen of pop and the soon-to-be-crowned “King of R&B,” Bobbi Kristina was no stranger to the spotlight or the itinerant media attention and speculation that often accompanies celebrity parents. When Whitney Houston wed Bobby Brown in 1992 after a whirlwind and oft-maligned courtship, the couple faced a ceaseless barrage of paparazzi and tabloid chatter, as the relationship between the two seemed to epitomize the saying, “opposites attract.” With Houston’s squeaky-clean image and Brown’s bad boy persona, the two provided a steady supply of fodder for the media; their highly publicized private battles often played out on a very public stage—most famously in the couple’s 2005 Bravo reality series, Being Bobby Brown. Despite the often chaotic circumstances of her upbringing, Bobbi Kristina appeared to maintain a relatively low-profile, stepping out in public from time to time with one or both of her parents, and rarely the topic of extreme gossip until her mother’s death in 2012.
Media attention turned sharply toward the then-19 year old as the world mourned Houston’s tragic death following her triumphant resurgence with her final album, 2009’s I Look to You, and her stellar performance alongside Jordin Sparks in the 2012 remake of the classic film, Sparkle (which was released in August of that year). Bobbi Kristina briefly joined the cast of Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse, his original series on OWN, and although it was initially reported that she had stormed off the set during taping, Perry vehemently denied the incident. He did, however, indicate that, understandably, Bobbi Kristina had a few tough, extremely emotional days on-set, but that she was always professional and delivered excellent work. Bobbi Kristina also began to make more public appearances, often with boyfriend Nick Gordon, and had amassed an impressive following on social media. By all accounts, she seemed to be building a life and an identity for herself, in the midst of her grieving and healing, and coming into her own as a young adult.
That Bobbi Kristina was discovered in a condition eerily similar to her mother’s almost three years prior was lost on few; Bobbi Kristina’s incident also occurred just days after the highly-anticipated premier of the Lifetime biopic, Whitney, which starred Yaya Dacosta and was directed by Angela Bassett, and less than a month before the third anniversary of Houston’s passing. Rumors swirled that the film had “pushed Bobbi Kristina over the edge,” fueling speculation that drugs and/or alcohol may have played a role in her scenario as well. After Nick Gordon found her unconscious, she was rushed to the hospital and placed into a medically-induced coma.
In February, reports surfaced that Bobbi Kristina had been taken out of her coma but remained on life support and still unresponsive. There were also numerous reports of ongoing conflict between Gordon and the Brown family, and in April, Bobby Brown announced that Bobbi Kristina was “awake” during a performance in Grand Prairie, TX. Bobbi Kristina was placed in hospice care in June, and her family, including her grandmother, the incomparable Cissy Houston, continued to rally fans, friends, and family around Bobbi Kristina in prayer.
On some level, Bobbi Kristina’s death was inevitable; months unresponsive with decreasing brain function pointed to the stark reality—at least, medically—that she would not survive. However, there is always room for a miracle, and with so many praying and hoping for her recovery, that she would beat the odds, news of her passing could not be more heartbreaking.
All of us at SoulTrain.com extend our deepest condolences to the Brown and Houston families and to all those who knew and loved Bobbi Kristina.
Rhonda Nicole is the Managing Editor for SoulTrain.com, a soul singer/songwriter, music journalist, blogger, and curator of the BohemeRockstar Music Blog (IG @BohemeRockstar), splitting her time between the Bay Area and LA. Download her EP ‘Nuda Veritas’ on CDBaby and iTunes, keep up with her new music at soundcloud.com/rhonda-nicole, follow her on Facebook and on Twitter @wildhoneyrock, and dig her musical musings at rhondanicole.com.