Belfast Telegraph

Friday 21 November 2014

'Arena funeral' for tragic Whitney

Fans attend attend Whitney Houston Leimert Park Vigil on February 13, 2012 in Los Angeles, California
Fans attend attend Whitney Houston Leimert Park Vigil on February 13, 2012 in Los Angeles, California
Whitney Houston was found by a member of her entourage in her hotel room
The body of Whitney Houston arrives at Whigham Funeral Home, in Newark, N.J., Monday, Feb. 13, 2012. The 48-year-old pop star was found dead in the bathtub in her hotel room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Saturday, hours before she was supposed to appear at a pre-Grammy gala.
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 13: A general view of atmosphere outside of the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles in remembrance of Whitney Houston on February 13, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 13: Fans attend attend Whitney Houston Leimert Park Vigil on February 13, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 13: Adinett Nsabimana dances at Whitney Houston Leimert Park Vigil on February 13, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 13: Eric Williams, Travon Marshall, Juliette Tate and friends attend Whitney Houston Leimert Park Vigil on February 13, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 13: Poster of Whitney Houston with candles at Whitney Houston Leimert Park Vigil on February 13, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 13: Cissy Houston arrives as Whitney Houston's Body Arrives In New Jersey Ahead Of Her Funeral at Whigham Funeral Home on February 13, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images)
File picture, dated September 09, 1999, Whitney Houston kicks off her first tour of the UK in six years, in Sheffield. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday February 12, 2012. The American singer and actress, who was one of the world's best-selling artists in the 1980s and 1990s, has died, aged 48. See PA story SHOWBIZ Houston. Picture credit should read:John Giles/PA Archive
File picture, dated February 17, 1999, American singer Whitney Houston makes a rare appearance for her fans at the HMV store in Oxford Circus, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday February 12, 2012. The American singer and actress, who was one of the world's best-selling artists in the 1980s and 1990s, has died, aged 48. See PA story SHOWBIZ Houston. Picture credit should read: Peter Jordan/PA Archive
In this photo provided by the Las Vegas News Bureau, Whitney Houston performs during the Billboard Awards at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Dec. 7, 1998. Often referred to as the Queen of Pop music at her best, Houston ex-wife of singer Bobby Brown, died Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012 at the age of 48. (AP Photo/Las Vegas News Bureau)
FILE - In this March 25, 2001 file photo, Bobby Brown and his then wife Whitney Houston arrive at Vanity Fair's Oscar party at Morton's in Hollywood on Sunday, March 25, 2001. Houston, who ruled as pop music's queen until her majestic voice was ravaged by drug use and her regal image was ruined by erratic behavior and a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown, died Saturday Feb. 11, 2012. She was 48. (AP Photo/Laura Rauch)
Fans take pictures with a plaque commemorating Whitney Houston's Record of the Year and Album of the Year for the 36th Grammy Awards, at LA Live in Los Angeles, on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012. Houston died Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012, on the eve of the Grammys, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, where she was preparing to attend a pre-Grammy party. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Donzaleigh Abernathy places a flower at a memorial outside the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Houston, who ruled as pop music's queen until her majestic voice and regal image were ravaged by drug use, erratic behavior and a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown, died Saturday, Feb. 11. She was 48. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
LOS ANGELES - (FILE PHOTO): Singer Whitney Houston accepts the Winner of International - Favorite Artist Award onstage at the 2009 American Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 22, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. According to reports on February 11, 2012, Houston has died at the age 48. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: LA Police attend the Beverly Hilton Hotel in the early hours of February 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, CA. Singer and film star Whitney Houston aged 48 has died in her hotel room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. (Photo/Toby Canham/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: LA Coroners leave the Beverly Hilton Hotel possibly carrying the body of the singer Whitney Houston in the early hours of February 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, CA. Singer and film star Whitney Houston aged 48 has died in her hotel room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. (Photo/Toby Canham/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: LA Coroners arrive and after time leave the Beverly Hilton Hotel possibly carrying the body of the singer Whitney Houston in the early hours of February 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, CA. Singer and film star Whitney Houston aged 48 has died in her hotel room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. (Photo/Toby Canham/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: LA Coroners leave the Beverly Hilton Hotel possibly carrying the body of the singer Whitney Houston in the early hours of February 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, CA. Singer and film star Whitney Houston aged 48 has died in her hotel room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. (Photo/Toby Canham/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 12: Mourner Donna Thorn of Newark, New Jersey creates a memorial for singer Whitney Houston, at The New Hope Baptist Church on February 12, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. Singer Whitney Houston died on February 11, 2012 at The Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by John W. Ferguson/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Host LL Cool J pays tribute to singer Whitney Houston onstage at the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on February 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 12: Remembrances of singer Whitney Houston are seen around Harlem's Apollo Theatre on the streets of Manhattan on February 12, 2012 in New York City. Singer Whitney Houston died on February 11, 2012 at The Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, CA. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 12: Remembrances of singer Whitney Houston are seen around Harlem's Apollo Theatre on the streets of Manhattan on February 12, 2012 in New York City. Singer Whitney Houston died on February 11, 2012 at The Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, CA. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 12: Remembrances of singer Whitney Houston are seen around Harlem's Apollo Theatre on the streets of Manhattan on February 12, 2012 in New York City. Singer Whitney Houston died on February 11, 2012 at The Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, CA. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Whitney Houston is displayed on the screen during Jennifer Hudson's performance onstage at the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on February 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Singer Jennifer Hudson performs during a memoriam for Whitney Houston onstage at the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on February 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
File picture, dated February 09, 2008, Whitney Houston arrives at the Carl Davis Pre-Grammy party at the Beverley Hilton Hotel, Los Angeles
File picture, dated February 17, 1999, American singer Whitney Houston makes a rare appearance for her fans at the HMV store in Oxford Circus, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday February 12, 2012. The American singer and actress, who was one of the world's best-selling artists in the 1980s and 1990s, has died, aged 48. See PA story SHOWBIZ Houston. Picture credit should read: Peter Jordan/PA Archive
Whitney Houston's autopsy report is being kept under wraps
Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston's body has arrived in her home state of New Jersey as her family discussed plans for a funeral at one of America's busiest entertainment venues.

Two people who spoke to the singer's family said they had raised the possibility of holding a wake on Thursday and a funeral on Friday at Newark's Prudential Centre, which hosts college and professional sporting events and seats about 18,000 people.

City officials said they were awaiting the family's arrival to complete the funeral planning.

A picture of Houston, 48, appeared on the electronic board outside the arena with a New Jersey Devils game scheduled for Friday night - posing a logistical challenge to a funeral that day.

The pop star was found dead in a bath in her suite at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in California on Saturday, hours before she was supposed to appear at a pre-Grammy Awards gala.

Funeral arrangements were being made by Newark's Whigham Funeral Home, which handled the 2003 funeral of Houston's father John, according to the sources.

Houston fans went to the funeral home, where they played her songs, sang and lit candles to remember her.

The Los Angeles coroner's office said Houston's body was released to the family on Monday and police said the body was taken to a Los Angeles-area airport.

She was found underwater and apparently unconscious when she was pulled from the hotel bath, and had prescription drugs in her room, authorities said.

An post-mortem examination was carried out on Sunday and there were no indications of foul play and no obvious signs of trauma on her body. But it could be weeks before the coroner's office completes toxicology tests to establish her cause of death.

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