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LeAnn Rimes Honors Whitney Houston With Tribute Performance

LeAnn RImes, Whitney Houston
Mark Davis / Frank Micelotta, Getty Images

This weekend, pop diva Whitney Houston’s death shook the music community to its core, leaving stars so stunned and sad that the only appropriate way to respond seemed to be offering up a version of the awe-inspiring ‘I Will Always Love You.’ We saw Jennifer Hudson bring the Grammy audience to the point of tears with her chill-invoking tribute on the big stage last night. But even before that emotional performance, LeAnn Rimes paid tribute to the fallen star by singing the hit song at her show in Reno, Nev.

In the (somewhat shaky) video below, you can see Rimes diving into the run-filled song, bringing her sweet sound to it in a way that would have made Whitney proud. With just the slightest guitar strumming happening behind her, Rimes let her raw voice do the talking, but she could only make it so far before choking up. Some audience members sung along while others simply cheered for the quality of the honoring performance.

After dipping into the verse, singing “I hope life treats you kind …” Rimes pauses, and the audience seems to at first think she’s forgotten the words. But she hasn’t. With tears and emotion cutting her voice short, the singer pauses for a few moments before finishing out the chorus beautifully and ending to the swelling cheer of her audience.

Houston died Saturday, not long before this performance, at only 48 years of age. From the moment the news of her death began to circulate, the country community rallied around to show their heartfelt sadness and shock. One star who took the news especially hard was Dolly Parton, who sang the original version of ‘I Will Always Love You’ in 1974. In a post on her website, Parton summed up her grief, saying “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.’”

Watch LeAnn Rimes Perform Whitney’s ‘I Will Always Love You’

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