In a new statement made Monday (Feb. 13), Dolly Parton emphasized once again just how deeply saddened she is by the tragic and sudden death of pop superstar Whitney Houston, who died Saturday in a Beverly Hills hotel room. Parton seems to have felt a special connection with the soaring songstress, especially since they shared the hit ‘I Will Always Love You,’ a song Parton wrote and performed in 1974. Houston then brought the git to girls across the globe, who sang it into their hairbrushes after 1992, trying to mimic the astounding runs and unbelievable high notes of the talent.

“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,” Parton said in a statement today. “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. Rest in peace, Whitney. Again, we will always love you.”

Parton had shared a similar sentiment on her website Saturday, just after learning of the star’s death, again alluding to the fitting title of their shared song. On her site, Parton offered, “Mine is only one of the millions of hearts broken over the death of Whitney Houston. 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.’”

Joining Parton in her grief were tons of country stars, all offering their heartbroken condolences for the untimely death of 48-year-old Houston. Sentiments have been popping up on websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and in tributes to the fallen diva. Saturday night, after news of Houston’s death became public, a tearful LeAnn Rimes performed ‘I Will Always Love You’ for her Reno, Nev. audience, breaking off toward the end when tears choked out her voice.

In the face of such a far-reaching tragedy, we’re sure to continue seeing and hearing the rueful thoughts of a generation impacted so deeply by the voice of one woman. In fact, the hit FOX music show ‘Glee’ will pay tribute to Whitney Houston in their Feb. 14 episode, performing a rendition of the Parton/Houston shared hit. According to producers, he fact that the episode is scheduled to air just days after the singer’s death is just an unfortunately timely coincidence.

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