*Whitney Houston’s funeral service will be held Saturday in the New Jersey church where she first showcased her singing talents as a child.
Unfortunately, Whitney’s fans who had hoped to say goodbye to the superstar music icon at the 19000-seat Prudential Center, will now be deeply disappointed. The funeral will be private affair as in invite only at the 300 seat New hope Baptist church in Newark, NJ
The owner of the Whigham Funeral Home in Newark said Tuesday that Houston’s funeral would be held at noon Saturday, reports the Chicago Tribune. The funeral home said there would be no wake, either.
The 48-year-old Houston died Feb. 11 at a hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., just hours before she was set to perform at producer Clive Davis’ pre-Grammy Awards bash. Officials say she was underwater and apparently unconscious when she was pulled from a bathtub.
After an autopsy Sunday, authorities said there were no indications of foul play and no obvious signs of trauma on Houston. It could be weeks, however, before the coroner’s office completes toxicology tests to establish the cause of death.
Los Angeles County coroner’s assistant chief Ed Winter said there were bottles of prescription medicine in the room. He would not give details except to say: “There weren’t a lot of prescription bottles. You probably have just as many prescription bottles in your medicine cabinet.”
Her body was returned to New Jersey late Monday. As previously reported, a plane owned by actor-producer Tyler Perry landed at an airport in Teterboro, New Jersey, where security was tight. A gold hearse left the airport and arrived just before midnight at the Whigham funeral home in Newark, the city where Houston was born. A crowd of about 50 fans had gathered outside.
Houston was born in Newark and was raised in nearby East Orange. She began singing as a child at New Hope Baptist Church, where her mother, Grammy-winning gospel singer Cissy Houston, led the music program for many years. Her cousin singer Dionne Warwick also sang in its choir.
On Monday, mourners left flowers, balloons and candles for Houston at the wrought-iron fence around the tall brick church, which sits near the edge of an abandoned housing project near the train line leading to New York City.