By Paul Lomax and Tom Liddy
MANHATTAN — It was a sad note for the Whitney Houston fans in the city and around the country.
On hearing the news of the superstar singer's death Saturday, music-lovers across the Big Apple mourned the loss of the pop legend, honoring the talented and troubled musician with memorials and song.
The outpouring on the East Coast came as the music world was left reeling from the death at the Grammy Awards Sunday in California. Houston was set to attend a pre-Grammy party when she died Saturday night at the Beverly Hilton Hotel at 48.
At the Apollo Theater in Harlem, the marquee lit up with a tribute to the Newark-born singer, who catapulted to superstardom with a remake of Dolly Parton's classic "I Will Always Love You" for the movie, "The Bodyguard," in which she starred.
"In Memory of Whitney Houston: A True Music Icon, 1963 - 2012," the sign read Saturday.
Fans and mourners gathered and set up a shrine including flowers, notes and a giant black banner with red hearts for Houston, who played a number of early shows in New York.
"It's a tragedy. I can't believe she's dead," said Frezzel Martin, 55, an office cleaner from Harlem, whose favorite song was "I Will Always Love You." "She was so young. I'm going to miss her and her music so much.
"Her death is a big loss to the world of entertainment."
Malik Davis, 40, a security guard from Harlem said the news was "so sad...it hurts."
"I feel so sorry for her kids," he said. "She's irreplaceable — a legend."
In Times Square, news of the singer's death in California scrolled across the giant news tickers at the Crossroads of the World.
Houston was found in the bathtub of her room at the Beverly Hilton and investigators are probing whether drowning was the cause, according to the LA Times.
Cops said that there were no immediate indications of foul play, but it was too early to say if she had died from natural causes, the report said.
During her decades-long career, Houston racked up six Grammy Awards and became one of the top-selling pop artists in history with 55 million albums sold, according to the Associated Press.
Her first two albums, "Whitney Houston" and "Whitney" were multi-platinum, but the singer proved that she could be a star on screen as well with "The Bodyguard" in 1992 with Kevin Costner.
She also starred in "Waiting to Exhale" and "The Preacher's Wife."
But for all of her ups, Houston had many downs as well, going through a rocky marriage with singer Bobby Brown and struggling with drug abuse.
The couple had a daughter, Bobbi Kristina, in 1993.