News Update :

Private funeral Saturday for Whitney Houston

Saturday, February 18, 2012

USA: Pop diva Whitney Houston will be buried on Saturday after a private funeral in the Baptist church in New Jersey where he grew up singing in a gospel choir. Fans of Houston, who died on Saturday only 48 years old, be denied the chance to say goodbye at a mass rally, as the singer's family has apparently decided against holding a public funeral two days in a Newark sports arena.

"The service will be held Saturday 12 noon (1700 GMT) in New Hope Baptist Church," said a spokeswoman for the Whigham Funeral Home in Newark, which was handling arrangements for the burial of Houston, told AFP.

Houston was found unconscious in his bathroom, on Saturday afternoon at the Beverly Hilton, as preparations were being made for the Grammy Awards, the highlight of the music industry calendar. The doctors could not revive her.

Houston, which had one of the greatest singing voices ever, and sells over 170 million records, fought a long and public battle with substance abuse after his career and personal life went off the rails.

Fans were waiting for autopsy results that can not be made public for up to eight weeks, as speculation rages that the legend of the song could have died from a lethal cocktail of prescription drugs and alcohol.

The autopsy was completed on Sunday, but the results have been withheld pending the completion of a toxicology probe. Houston's funeral service will be held at New Hope Baptist Church, where he perfected his craft singing, and where his mother, soul and gospel singer Cissy acclaimed Houston, served as musical director for decades. Media reports said the plans had been reviewed by a public service - possibly at the Sports Arena at Prudential Center in Newark, a place that would have allowed thousands of fans from Houston to pay their last respects.

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