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PIX: Whitney Houston's final journey

Last updated on: February 20, 2012 13:52 IST

PIX: Whitney Houston's final journey

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Fans, close friends and family gathered together for Whitney Houston's funeral on Saturday, at the Fairview Cemetery in New Jersey.

They spoke about her life and their love for her with much love at the red brick church where she first sang in public, at the age of 11, in the gospel choir alongside her mother Cissy Houston.


Image: Bystanders wait for the hearse carrying the body of singer Whitney Houston outside the Fairview Cemetery
Photographs: John W Ferguson/Getty Images

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Balloons and flowers were tied to the railings of the New Hope Baptist Church, in Newark, New Jersey, as if for a party. The massive choir wore white and stood to start the service with an electrifying gospel song that said, 'Gratefulness is flowing from my heart.'

Image: The hearse carrying the body of Whitney Houston arrives for her burial service at the Fairview Cemetery
Photographs: John W Ferguson/Getty Images

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PIX: Whitney Houston's final journey

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Millions were watching on television, through a single camera in the church. Mariah Carey was there alongside Oprah Winfrey and Queen Latifah. Houston's godmother Aretha Franklin had been due to sing but was too ill even to attend.

Stevie Wonder sang Love's In Need Of Love Today and revealed his feelings for the late pop diva.

'In my fantasy world, I had a little crush on Whitney, okay?' the Telegraph quoted him as saying.

Image: The hearse carrying the body of singer Whitney Houston arrives for her burial service at the Fairview Cemetery
Photographs: John W Ferguson/Getty Images

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PIX: Whitney Houston's final journey

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But as the mood swung from celebration to sorrow, it became apparent that this was not a concert, it was an intimate Pentecostal service.

The invitations had called it a coming home, and that was true on many levels. Houston's body had been flown home from California, where she was found dead in the bath at the Beverly Hills Hotel on February 12.
 
The coroner has found no signs of foul play, but toxicology reports are expected amid rumours that she died after taking a lethal cocktail of prescription drugs and alcohol.

Image: Media and bystanders wait outside the Fairview Cemetery
Photographs: John W Ferguson/Getty Images

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PIX: Whitney Houston's final journey

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Her body, in a platinum coffin with gold handles, was driven through the streets of Newark in a gold hearse, past the housing projects where she grew up.

There had been some debate about whether the singer's ex-husband Bobby Brown was invited, but he arrived late in a limo and wearing dark glasses. He was reported to have walked up to the flower-covered coffin, touched it then left the church again. Their daughter Bobbi Kristina was also there.

Image: The hearse carrying the body of Whitney Houston arrives for her private burial at the Fairview Cemetery
Photographs: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images

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PIX: Whitney Houston's final journey

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Kevin Costner, Houston's co-star in her debut movie The Bodyguard gave an emotional address. He revealed that studio executives suggested he should hire someone white to star alongside him, and that he postponed making the film for a year so that she could be in it. He also had to help the singer overcome self-doubt about the part.

'Off you go Whitney, escorted by an army of angels to your heavenly father. When you sing before him don't you worry, you'll be good enough,' he said.

Image: Stevie Wonder leaves the funeral service for Whitney Houston
Photographs: Michael Nagle/Getty Images

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Source: ANI