Clive Davis discovered Whitney Houston at a NYC nightclub when the singer was 20 years old.
It was therefore eerie and appropriate that the artist passed away, possibly from an overdose on prescription drugs, just a few hours prior to the music producer's annual pre-Grammy Awards party at the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel.
The somber event did proceed as scheduled - with attendees including Britney Spears, Miranda Lambert, Brandy, Tom Hanks, P Diddy, Kim Kardashian and Mary J. Blige - and Davis opened the shindig with remarks abut Houston.
"So, by now sadly, we have all learned of the unspeakably tragic news of our beloved Whitney's passing. I don't have to mask my emotions. Not in front of this room full of so many dear friends," Davis said. "I do have a very heavy heart and I am personally devastated by the loss of someone who has meant so much to me for so many years. Whitney was so full of life.
"She was so looking forward to tonight... She loved music and she loved this night that celebrates music."
A moment of silence followed, with Diana Krall, Tony Bennett and Alicia Keys later performing.
On tonight's Grammys telecast, meanwhile, Jennifer Hudson will perform a tribute to Whitney.