Tears welled in my eyes when my husband shared the news with me that Whitney Houston had died. At 48 years old, she had so much life ahead of her.

I think of Whitney and instantly flash back to my teenaged years — sitting on the floor of my best friend’s home listening to her songs on tape over and over, memorizing the lyrics.

Whitney represented what we wanted to be when we grew up. Sexy, smart, charismatic, talented, lovable, enigmatic, daring, caring and so full of spirit.

138859811 Whitney Houston

A screen flashes a video of late Whitney Houston performing during the 54th Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12, 2012. (credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

I stopped looking to her as a role model when she married Bobby Brown and started her ill fated tumble into drugs and alcohol.

More From CBSLosAngeles.com: Jennifer Hudson Pays Loving Tribute To Whitney Houston At The Grammys

I always thought it much too sad to read anything about her; I didn’t want to know how pitiful her life had become.

Then a few months back a news headline caught my attention regarding her making a comeback and living a clean and sober life.

I cheered … and thought “Good for her!” What a tough road she had traveled and how wonderful to hear she was finding herself again.

I have seen people close to me fight the disease of addiction and I know how cunning and evil “the disease” can be. Her death another example of what steps it will take to win and claim a life.

I hope now, in death, she found the peace she struggled so painfully to attain in her last years in life.

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