"I just can't talk about it now," Franklin told Us Weekly Saturday following news of Houston's death in L.A. at age 48. "It's so stunning and unbelievable. I couldn't believe what I was reading coming across the TV screen. My heart goes out to Cissy, her daughter Bobbi Kris, her family and Bobby." (Houston, whose cause of death has not yet been determined, leaves behind daughter Bobbi Kristina, 18, with ex-husband Bobby Brown.)
Country singer-songwriter Parton, 66, meanwhile, penned and sung the original version of "I Will Always Love You," Houston's biggest of many smash hits that helped make The Bodyguard soundtracks one of the top-selling albums of all time.
"Mine is only one of the millions of hearts broken over the death of Whitney Houston," Parton said in a statement. "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.'"