12:00 PM EST, February 16, 2012
He's the man who tried to save Whitney Houston's incredible talent from self-destruction. When Gary Catona was introduced Houston he noticed trouble right away.
When Catona met Houston, he said she had a voice with "No tone, just breath, scratchy, horse."
So what happened to the woman with the powerful pipes that propelled her to stardom?
"What I do know, because I saw, is that she smokes. She was smoking, which is horrible," said Catona.
The two worked tirelessly to repair the damage to Houston's vocal chords.
"Once she said to me, 'My voice is stuck in my throat. It's stuck, I know it's still there, it has to come out, it has to come out.' And then when I began teaching her, it began coming out," said Catona.
Catona last worked with Houston in 2010, when Houston was staging her big European comeback tour.
At the time, Catona didn't think Houston was ready but he says her mentor, Clive Davis rushed her back on stage.
"I got part of her voice back and all of a sudden she is on the road. I got three-quarters of her voice back and she does a record, but they never took it all the way," said Catona.
A spokesman for Davis said, he always had Whitney's best interest at heart.
Houston's voice troubles date back to 2000, when Houston was fired from the Oscars® just 48 hours before show time. At the time, music director Burt Bacharach told INSIDE EDITION after a disastrous rehearsal it was too risky to let Houston perform.
"If the Friday night rehearsal was symbolic of what went on, on Sunday on a live telecast, that nobody would have remembered who won the Academy Award® that year. You know they'd be talking about Whitney," said Bacharach.
Houston claimed she had laryngitis but others were not so sure. She was replaced by Faith Hill. That wasn't the first time Houston used illness as an excuse.
In October 1997, Houston canceled an appearance on The Rosie O'Donnell Show just 45 minutes before the live taping saying she had stomach flu. O'Donnell was not pleased and said, "I hope she's very ill. Not that I want her to be sick, but I hope she really has got a fever."
Her vocal coach said Houston had a special gift that will sadly never be heard again.
"She was struggling and that her struggle to want to get her voice back, kept me going because I knew what she was up against. And I believe it could have happened," said Catona.