TD Jakes 'deeply saddened' by death of Whitney Houston

Potter's House pastor TD Jakes has commented on the passing of Whitney Houston.

The iconic singer and actress was confirmed dead on Saturday at the age of 48. An autopsy was carried out yesterday but results are being withheld until toxicology tests are completed.

Jakes worked with Houston on what would be her final film, “Sparkle”.

He paid tribute to the star in a statement, saying: "We are deeply saddened by the tragic and untimely passing of Whitney Houston, whom we were blessed to have just completed work with on the remake of the film ‘Sparkle’.

“We ask the world to join us in lifting up Whitney's family in prayer and ask God for their strength and comfort during this devastatingly difficult time.

“At the apex of her career, Whitney had no peer, with a voice that shaped a generation. She has left behind a musical and film legacy that will endure ... she will be sorely missed by us all.”

Discovered by Clive Davis in a New York club, Houston was signed to Arista Records in 1983 and went on to have a string of hits, including “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”, “One Moment In Time” and “I Will Always Love You”.

In 1992, she starred alongside Kevin Costner in The Bodyguard. The lead single for the soundtrack, “I Will Always Love You”, became her signature song and remains the best-selling single by a female artist in music history.

Four years later, she starred in The Preacher’s Wife and sang for the soundtrack, which became the best-selling gospel album in history.

Although Houston was open about her struggle with substance abuse over the years, her death has come as a shock to the music world and fans.

Mariah Carey said: "I am heartbroken and in tears over the shocking death of my friend, the incomparable Ms Whitney Houston. She will never be forgotten as one of the greatest voices to ever grace the earth."

Dolly Parton, who wrote "I Will Always Love You", said: "Mine is only one of the millions of hearts broken over the death of Whitney Houston. I will always be grateful and in awe of the wonderful performance she did on my song and I can truly say from the bottom of my heart, “Whitney, I will always love you. You will be missed.”

Hillsong singer Darlene Zschech was among the Christian artists paying their tributes to Houston over the weekend.

She tweeted: “Hillsong worship leader Darlene Zschech tweeted: “My heart breaks for Miss Whitney's family today.. Our prayers and love are with you all x Darls.”