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Two women pause near a memorial display before funeral services for singer Whitney Houston
Image: dapd

Whitney Houston remembered

February 18, 2012

The funeral of singer Whitney Houston has finished in Newark, New Jersey. Music and Hollywood stars joined family members to remember Houston in the church where the pop diva sang as a child.


Family, friends and fans gathered in Newark, New Jersey, on Saturday for the funeral of pop icon Whitney Houston, one week after her sudden death.

Some 1,500 invitation-only guests crowded into the New Hope Baptist Church where Houston sang as a child. A gospel choir, whose members were dressed in white and gold, opened the service with a song, as mourners swayed and clapped along.

Newark's mayor Cory Booker was among the first to address the congregation, saying, "We are here not to mourn our loss but to celebrate her life. God is in heaven and with him is one of our angels. We love you Whitney Houston."

Speeches from Houston's "Bodyguard" co-star Kevin Costner, Houston's cousin and singer Dionne Warwick and music mogul Clive Davis then followed. Stevie Wonder and Alicia Keys were among those to perform. Close family friend Aretha Franklin had been expected to sing at the service, but was too ill to attend.

A coffin holding the remains of singer Whitney Houston is carried into the New Hope Baptist Church
Three police officers escorted Houston's casket, draped with white roses and purple liliesImage: dapd

A recording of Houston singing her 1992 hit "I Will Always Love You" closed out the funeral.

Private funeral service

Although fans were respectfully asked to stay away for fear of disrupting the event, several hundred still lined the streets, which were adorned with floral tributes, candles, balloons and condolence cards.

Houston died on February 11 in Los Angeles on the eve of the Grammy Awards. She was 48. A coroner is awaiting results of a toxicology report before announcing the cause of death. Houston is expected to be laid to rest near her father's grave in New Jersey.

Whitney Houston was one of the most celebrated female singers of all time and received multiple Emmy, Grammy and Billboard Music awards. More recently she had become better known for problems with drug and alcohol abuse and a turbulent failed marriage to fellow singer Bobby Brown.

ccp/ng (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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