Nary was a dry eye left in the house inside Staples Center on Sunday night, when Jennifer Hudson took the stage to perform “I Will Always Love You” as a tribute to Whitney Houston.
But the performance was increasingly personal for one fellow music icon, who has a special connection to that song – Dolly Parton.
“I was brought to tears again last night, as I’m sure many were, when Jennifer Hudson sang ‘I Will Always Love You’ on the Grammys in memory of Whitney,” Dolly – who originally the song in 1974 – said in a statement to Access Hollywood on Monday.
Although Whitney brought the song to new heights when she recorded it for “The Bodyguard” soundtrack in 1992, with the track spending an astounding 14 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart, it was Dolly who originally wrote the song in June 1973 for her longtime partner & mentor Porter Wagoner – achieving her own chart success, hitting #1 twice with the song on the Billboard country charts.
“Like everybody else, I am still in shock. But I know that Whitney will live forever in all the great music that she left behind. I will always have a very special piece of her in the song we shared together and had the good fortune to share with the world,” Dolly’s statement continued. “Rest in peace, Whitney. Again, we will always love you.”
On Monday afternoon, Jennifer also released a statement on the heels of her own performance.
“It was the greatest honor of my life to be able to be the one to pay tribute to Whitney’s memory. It was from my heart. I haven’t stopped crying since she passed. Her family is in my prayers,” the singer’s statement to Access said.