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    Whitney Houston Tribute: Watch LeAnn Rimes' Emotional Performance of "I Will Always Love You"

    LeAnn Rimes Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

    It's somehow fitting that Whitney Houston's most famous song is also the one that best relates the feelings of her in-mourning fans.

    Especially her famous ones.

    LeAnn Rimes touchingly paid tribute to the iconic and personally inspirational late singer over the weekend with a touching rendition of "I Will Always Love You"—and she told E! News exclusively about it.

    MORE: Janet Jackson remembers Whitney

    "I lost it just talking about her and the impact she had on my life before I even began to sing. It made it almost impossible. The tribute to her came from my heart, which was truly broken like the rest if the world," Rimes told E! News exclusively.

    What the footage—taken at Rimes' Reno performance Saturday night, just hours after Houston was found dead—lacks in visual clarity, it more than makes up for with the power of LeAnn's voice.

    Even more touching is that an obviously emotional Rimes has to temporarily pause from belting out the song, only to regain her composure—with help from an encouraging audience—and ultimately finish the tune.

    "I can't stop crying," LeAnn tweeted before the performance. "I have a show to do soon. Wow, I learned how to do what I do because of 3 great women, one being Whitney. She was always so kind to me. This is not gonna be an easy show for sure. I'm doing what she taught me to do by listening to her records over & over as a little girl. Her death is very surreal."

    MORE: Whitney's funeral plans formally announced

    Afterwards, Rimes was flooded with appreciation for her rendition.

    "I could hardly sing," she wrote. "I was trying not to cry….She was a major influence.

    "It came from the heart," she said of her performance. "I did [make it through] but not w/o tears and my throat closing up from trying to stop myself from crying…It's a raw moment, so hard to sing."

    And made all the more moving for it.

    PHOTOS: Whitney Houston: Great Performances

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