The late Whitney Houston and rapper The Notorious B.I.G. are among this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees.

The institution, which was founded to honour key figures in the history of rock music, also announced on Wednesday that synth-pop act Depeche Mode and the industrial experimental group Nine Inch Nails would also be inducted, along with seventies rockers The Doobie Brothers and English glam rock band T-Rex.

This year's intake is marked by artists who died young. The Notorious B.I.G., who was murdered in 1997, was inducted in his first year of eligibility, which comes 25 years after the release of an act’s first commercial recording.

The artist born Christopher Wallace and colloquially known as Biggie died aged 24 a still-murky shooting that some speculated was part of a feud between East Coast and West Coast rappers.

Houston, the most awarded female artist of all time, died at the age of 48 in 2012 after a public struggle with drugs, following a decade that saw her go from America's sweetheart to tabloid fixture.

The induction of Houston and Biggie mark a continuation of the institution's broadening acceptance of genres into its ranks. Recent intakes have included the rapper Tupac Shakur, Radiohead and Janet Jackson.

However, the organization founded in the early 1980s has faced criticism over the years for its lack of diversity and limited recognition of women.

During last year's gala, Jackson brought up the issue in her acceptance speech, saying "2020 - please induct more women."

Janet Jackson

But just three women were among the short-list of potentials this year: Houston, who made the cut, along with Pat Benatar and Rufus, featuring Chaka Khan.

The new class of inductees will be celebrated with the annual star-studded ceremony set for May 2 in the Hall of Fame's home city of Cleveland, Ohio.

Inductees are chosen following a survey of more than 1,000 musicians, historians and industry members, who consider an act's career work, innovation, skill and influence in voting in new members.

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