USMagazine, Sunday, February 12, 2012, 5:30pm (PST)
No use tiptoeing around this one.
Kicking off Sunday night's Grammy Awards in L.A., host LL Cool J immediately acknowledged the somber news underlying the evening's proceedings -- Saturday's shocking death of Whitney Houston just a few miles away in Beverly Hills.
"There's no way around it," the rapper told the crowd, which included Adele, Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and others. "We've had a death in our family," he said. "For me, the only thing that feels right is to begin with a prayer for a woman who we love, for our fallen sister, Whitney Houston."
As the audience bowed their heads, LL paid tribute to the "My Love Is Your Love" singer, whose death investigation is ongoing.
"Heavenly father, we thank you for sharing our sister Whitney with us. Today our thoughts are with her mother, her daughter and all of her loved ones. And although she is gone too soon, we remain truly blessed to have been touched by her beautiful spirit, and to have the legacy of her music to cherish and share forever. Amen."