Country music legend Dolly Parton, who wrote what is widely regarded as Whitney Houston's best song, "I Will Always Love You," has joined the chorus of grieving stars on Saturday upon hearing the tragic news of the singer's death.
"Mine is only one of the millions of hearts broken over the death of Whitney Houston," Parton says in a statement to Billboard. "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.'"
Houston had 11 number 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 throughout her stunning career, but none had a bigger impact than Parton's soaring ballad. "I Will Always Love You" topped the chart for 14 weeks in 1992 and remains her most beloved performance.
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It also won her a Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance Grammy in 1994.
Parton released the song as her own single in 1974 and it did fairly well, topping the country songs chart. It was re-released in 1982 and reached the Hot 100. Linda Ronstadt also covered it. Houston's version came on the soundtrack for the 1992 film "The Bodyguard," co-starring the singer and Kevin Costner.
Houston's death at age 48 was announced on Saturday evening. Publicist Kristen Foster said that the singer had died, but the cause of her death is unknown.