Whitney’s mother, Cissy Houston, recalled the phone ringing that night at her home in New Jersey. “When I picked it up, all I could hear was screaming,” she wrote in her 2013 book Remembering Whitney. “‘Oh, Mommy! It’s Nippy! It’s Nippy!’ It was my son Gary on the line and he was hysterical.”
When the Grammy-winning gospel singer asked what was wrong, he replied, “They found her!…They found her upstairs and I’m not going back up there.”
Cissy couldn’t get a clearer explanation from her son, she recalled, and finally she asked if her daughter was dead.
“I was told later that I screamed so loudly that the whole building must have heard me,” Cissy wrote, “but my mind was absolutely blank, except for one thought: My baby was gone.”