Whitney Houston Loses Her Father, John

02/04/2003 at 01:00 PM EST

John Houston, 82, the father of Whitney Houston and a longtime theatrical manager, died Sunday morning from cardiac arrest after a lengthy battle with diabetes and heart disease, a family rep tells Reuters.

Houston passed away at Manhattan's Columbia Presbyterian Hospital with his wife, Peggy, and his personal nurse by his side, said Nancy Seltzer, the publicist for both Whitney Houston and her husband, Bobby Brown.

Whitney was the youngest of four children Houston had with his first wife, Cissy. She was his only daughter.

The last few months had been testy ones between the father and daughter, with his agency having sued her for $100 million, claiming that Whitney, 39, hired the elder Houston and his business partner to assist her with financial difficulties and to negotiate a record contract -- yet, he claimed in his lawsuit, she never paid him.

In a hospital-bed interview with John, the TV show "Celebrity Justice" showed him lecturing his daughter to "pay the money that you owe me."

The segment aired just a day after Whitney acknowledged a history of drug and alcohol abuse in a highly rated ABC TV interview in which she called her father's lawsuit hurtful.

Not that the legal battle affected the family's relationship, Seltzer tells the news service. (There were also no details of the lawsuit's current status.)

"The entire Houston family and John loved each other very, very much and each and every one of them had a chance to be with John (at the end)," she said, adding that on Sunday Whitney arrived in New York from Miami, where she was shooting a magazine cover.

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