Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Whitney Houston's family pay respects

NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 18: A poster of Whitney Houston is seen near her funeral at New Hope Baptist Church on February 18, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room at The Beverly Hilton hotel on February 11, 2012. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 18: Media set up for the funeral service for Whitney Houston outside near the New Hope Baptist Church on February 18, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. Whitney Houston was found dead on February 11, 2012 in her room at The Beverly Hilton hotel. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Getty Images)
Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston's family and friends gathered to pay their respects to the late star yesterday.

The singer died in a Los Angeles hotel room last weekend aged 48. At the moment her cause of death is unknown and her funeral is taking place in New Jersey later today.

Yesterday, several of her family members visited the Whigham Funeral Home in Newark, New Jersey. Among them were Whitney's mother Cissy Houston and her 18-year-old daughter Bobbi Kristina.

It was the first time Bobbi has been seen in public since she was hospitalised in the hours after Whitney's death.

Also in attendance was the star's cousin Dionne Warwick and her good friend and mentor Clive Davis.

A crowd assembled outside the establishment, and funeral director Caroline Whigham came out to address them. She said the viewing "was done in privacy. It was between a mother, a daughter, two brothers and a family", according to People.

Bobbi had a reported breakdown after her mother's passing, but seemed calm and collected yesterday. She wore jeans, a dark jacket and sunglasses and an insider has said she is coming to terms with the news.

"There are moments when she is strong and moments when it all hits her," the source told People. "She can't escape it."

Police were on hand to ensure everything went smoothly and will also be at the New Hope Baptist Church when Whitney's funeral happens later today.

Around 1,500 people have been invited, and stars including Kevin Costner and Aretha Franklin - Whitney's godmother - are set to have special involvement in the service. Others thought to be attending the 90-minute service include Brandy and her brother Ray-J, Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, Janet Jackson, Jay-Z and Mariah Carey.

Whitney's ex-husband Bobby Brown - Bobbi Kristina's father - will also be there.

The memorial will be streamed live on TV and online for fans.

Whitney fought a high-profile battle with drugs but until toxicology tests come back how she died won't be known.

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