As the investigation into continued inside the Saturday night, helicopters hovered overhead and camera crews, reporters and fans gathered outside the hotel.
An impromptu memorial began to grow on a sidewalk, as fans contributed flowers and candles.
Marquit and Autrese Strozier of Los Angeles came to the Hilton when they learned of Houston's death.
"When we heard the news, we just wanted to come out and see if it was true, and also see them bring her body out—so we could see if it was real," Marquit Strozier said.
His wife, Autrese Strozier, said Houston was an inspirational figure.
"She was iconic. She was the Queen of Pop. I'm saddened to hear that she died so early," she said, noting that her favorite Houston song is I Will Always Love You. "I know she had struggles in her life, but so soon? I was very surprised."
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Alexis Johnson of Tacoma, WA., was visiting Beverly Hills with her two sisters when she found out Houston had died.
"We were just out here on vacation and we heard that Whitney Houston passed away. We wanted to show our respect," said Johnson, who added that Houston had played a large role in her life. "I always wanted to be a singer when I was younger. I used to always try to sing her songs and act like her."
Johnson said her favorite Houston movie is The Bodyguard, which also starred actor Kevin Costner.
"It's sad," Johnson said of Houston's death. "It's sad because of how young she is. And her daughter, most of all."
Influential musician and producer Quincy Jones said he was "absolutely heartbroken at the news."
"I always regretted not having had the opportunity to work with her," Jones said in statement. "She was a true original and talent beyond compare."
Four-time Grammy winner Rihanna, who is scheduled to perform at Sunday's Grammys, tweeted, "No words! Just tears #DearWhitney."
Platinum-selling artist Katy Perry, who is also performing at this year's Grammys, tweeted, "So devastating. We will always love you Whitney, R.I.P."
Legendary singer Tony Bennett wrote on his Twitter page, "It's a tragedy. Whitney Houston was the greatest singer I've ever heard and she will be truly missed."