ENTERTAINMENT

Whitney Houston Funeral Live Blog

02/18/2012 11:06 am ET | Updated Apr 19, 2012

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Whitney Houston, one of the world's biggest music artists, passed away last Saturday at the age of 48. A funeral remembering the legend is set for today at the New Hope Baptist Church in Houston's hometown of Newark, New Jersey. Houston's daughter Bobbi Kristina, ex-husband Bobby Brown and around 1,500 other members of her family and friends are expected to attend the private funeral service today. The late singer and actress' "The Bodyguard" co-star Kevin Costner and longtime producer Clive Davis are also set to speak at the funeral, as well as Aretha Franklin, CeCe Winans and Stevie Wonder. Wonder is reportedly set to perform during the service, which the family has called a "home going" ceremony.

TMZ posted photographs of Bobbi Kristina, who was with Houston in Los Angeles when she died, arriving in New Jersey last night. Outside of New Hope Baptist Church, fans have been laying down balloons, flowers, cards and other commemorative material. The streets surrounding the church have also been been shut down to the public for the service.

Houston is set to be buried next to father John Houston, in Westfield, New Jersey. The hearse carrying Houston's casket was seen departing from Whigham Funeral Home for the church Saturday morning at around 10am.

The six-time Grammy winner was found unresponsive in her Beverly Hills hotel room one week ago; the reason for her death is unknown, though it is reported that prescription drugs were found in her room.

LIVE BLOG:

02/18/2012 3:45 PM EST

Houston's casket exits church to 'I Will Always Love You.'

Houston's casket exits New Hope Baptist Church to 'I Will Always Love You.'

02/18/2012 3:37 PM EST

Rev. Marvin Winans delivers impassioned eulogy

Rev. Marvin Winans, brother to CeCe and BeBe, delivered a lengthy, impassioned eulogy in which he both preached and sang gospel. He said, "Let us leave here impacted by her life."

02/18/2012 3:08 PM EST

CeCe Winans sings 'Don't Cry for Me'

BeBe Winans and sister CeCe remember Whitney on stage; Cece sang "Don't Cry for Me."

02/18/2012 2:56 PM EST

Houston funeral program

TMZ has obtained what they say is a copy of the funeral program. Click here to see photos.

02/18/2012 2:48 PM EST

R. Kelly sings 'I Look To You'

A bespectacled R. Kelly sang "I Look To You," a song he wrote specifically for Houston. It is also the title track of Houston's seventh and final album, released in August 2009.

02/18/2012 2:44 PM EST

Patricia Houston, Whitney's sister in law and manager, delivers eulogy

Patricia Houston, Whitney's sister in law and manager, said that the six weeks the singer was filming "Sparkle" were the happiest of her life and called Clive Davis "the rock that held her together professionally."

02/18/2012 2:21 PM EST

Bobby Brown left over seating dispute

TMZ is reporting that Bobby Brown left over a seating dispute. Brown showed up with nine people, but was allegedly only invited with a plus two. More details are here.

02/18/2012 2:15 PM EST

Stevie Wonder performs original song for Houston

Stevie Wonder! The singer went behind the piano to perform two songs, including an original song for Houston. He also revealed that "in my fantasy world, I had a little crush on Whitney, okay?"

02/18/2012 2:01 PM EST

Clive Davis remembers the professional Houston

Longtime producer Clive Davis remembered the professional Houston, who never let her natural genius get to her head. He also spoke of his love for her and also addressed Houston's love for daughter Bobbi Kristina.

"When she broke that all-time record of seven consecutive number ones, we just felt utter disbelief. I would ask her, 'Are you pinching yourself?' And she would say, with wide-open eyes, 'I'm pinching myself.' She never took anything for granted. She was never arrogant. She was always appreciative... Was there any performance of 'Star Spangled Banner that remotely compares to her? Will there ever be?"

"Personally, all I can say is that I loved her very much. Whitney was purely and simply one of a kind. Yes she admitted to crazies in her life. Yes she admitted to Oprah about her battles. But when I needed her, she was there. She was there for me, and eternally loyal friend... And Bobby Kristina, you too, always, always be proud of your mother. She loved you so very much. She defined not only pure talent, but true heart and soul as well. She'll forever be looking after you, and will never let go of your hand."

02/18/2012 1:45 PM EST

Alicia Keys performs "Prelude to a Kiss" while choking back tears

Alicia Keys appeared to choke back tears as she went up to the piano. After expressing her close relationship with Houston -- "she called me Mima" -- Keys performed "Prelude to a Kiss."

","short_text":"In case you missed it, here's video of Newark mayor Cory Booker welcoming guests:

","short_text":"

Just heard from Aretha Franklin. Suffering from muscle spasms and leg cramps, she was heartbroken unable to sing at Whitney's funeral.

— Al Roker (@alroker) Read More"},{"id":"13","created":"02/18/2012 1:08 PM EST","title":"Bobby Brown leaves funeral","tweet_link":"13_bobby-brown-leaves-funeral","entry_text":"

ABC News is reporting that Bobby Brown abruptly left the funeral at the start of service: \"Brown was seen leaving the church in a Cadillac Escalade, along with his two children, Landon and LaPrincia.\"

","short_text":"

ABC News is reporting that Bobby Brown abruptly left the funeral at the start of service: \"Brown...Read More"},{"id":"12","created":"02/18/2012 12:54 PM EST","title":"Tyler Perry gives rousing speech","tweet_link":"12_tyler-perry-gives-rousing-speech","entry_text":"

Tyler Perry gives an invigorating, highly-charged speech, speaking of Whitney Houston's love of God. \"There was a grace that kept on carrying her all the way through. The same grace that led her all the way to the top of the charts, sold all of these albums... The other thing I know for sure, this is more important that anything she's ever done in her entire life -- Whitney Houston loved the Lord... So say whatever you want, God is for her, and she is with you, singing with the angels.\"

","short_text":"

Tyler Perry gives an invigorating, highly-charged speech, speaking of Whitney Houston's love of God. \"There was a grace that kept on carrying her all the way through. The same grace that led her all the way to the top of the charts, sold all of these a...Read More"},{"id":"11","created":"02/18/2012 12:48 PM EST","title":"Aretha Franklin sick, not performing at servce","tweet_link":"11_aretha-franklin-sick-not-performing-at-servce","entry_text":"

Aretha Franklin is sick, and will not be performing today, Spinner is reporting.

","short_text":"

Aretha Franklin is sick, and will not be performing today, Spinner is reporting.

"},{"id":"10","created":"02/18/2012 12:38 PM EST","title":"Rev. Joe Carter celebrates Whitney with scripture","tweet_link":"10_rev-joe-carter-celebrates-whitney-with-scripture","entry_text":"

Rev. Joe Carter celebrates Whitney with scripture, opens with: \"Whitney, you are the only one that could bring all of us together. Whitney, today is your day. We celebrate. Today is your day. No, I want to just say that we came here to celebrate and this is how we celebrate. We have church. The loving people you see, this family, they love the Lord. It is their faith that is holding them together.\"

","short_text":"

Rev. Joe Carter celebrates Whitney with scripture, opens with: \"Whitney, you are the only one that could bring all of us together. Whitney, today is your day. We celebrate. Today is your day. No, I want to just say that we came here to celebrate and th...Read More"},{"id":"9","created":"02/18/2012 12:35 PM EST","title":"New Hope Baptist Church choir performs Psalm 23","tweet_link":"9_new-hope-baptist-church-choir-performs-psalm-23","entry_text":"

The New Hope Baptist Church choir sets the tone by performing a beautiful rendition of Psalm 23 with a soloist, dressed all in white.

","short_text":"

The New Hope Baptist Church choir sets the tone by performing a beautiful rendition of Psalm 23 with a soloist, dressed all in white.

"},{"id":"8","created":"02/18/2012 12:21 PM EST","title":"Newark Mayor Cory Booker addresses the crowd","tweet_link":"8_newark-mayor-cory-booker-addresses-the-crowd","entry_text":"

Newark Mayor Cory Booker addresses the crowd, saying: \"We are here to mourn our loss, but to celebrate her life. God is in heaven, and with him is one of our angels, Whitney Houston... We thank you for gathering here, and I again, want to say, we love you Whitney Houston. Thank you.\"

","short_text":"

Newark Mayor Cory Booker addresses the crowd, saying: \"We are here to mourn our loss, but to celebrate her life. God is in heaven, and with him is one of our angels, Whitney Houston... We thank you for gathering here, and I again, want to say, we love ...Read More"},{"id":"7","created":"02/18/2012 12:17 PM EST","title":"Bobby Brown arrives in limo","tweet_link":"7_bobby-brown-arrives-in-limo","entry_text":"

New York Times reporter Sarah Maslin Nir snaps ex-husband Bobby Brown arriving at the funeral:

Bobby Brown and freaking out fan rushing his limo twitter.com/SarahMaslinNir…

— Sarah Maslin Nir (@SarahMaslinNir) February 18, 2012

","short_text":"New York Times reporter Sarah Maslin Nir snaps ex-husband Bobby Brown arriving at the funeral: \r\n

Bobby Brown and freaking out fan rushing his limo Read More"},{"id":"6","created":"02/18/2012 12:08 PM EST","title":"Fan holds t-shirt she bought outside of funeral service","tweet_link":"6_fan-holds-tshirt-she-bought-outside-of-funeral-service","entry_text":"

Fan from Brooklyn holding merchandise that she purchased outside the Whitney Houston funeral. twitter.com/NYDNmfeeney/st…

— Michael J. Feeney (@NYDNmfeeney) February 18, 2012

","short_text":"

Fan from Brooklyn holding merchandise that she purchased outside the Whitney Houston funeral. twitter.com/NYDNmfee...Read More"},{"id":"5","created":"02/18/2012 11:50 AM EST","title":"Guests arrive","tweet_link":"5_guests-arrive","entry_text":"

NBC New York is reporting that some of the invited guests have begun arriving to the church.

","short_text":"

NBC New York is reporting that some of the invited guests have begun arriving to the church.

"},{"id":"4","created":"02/18/2012 11:43 AM EST","title":"Details On Marvin Winans, Pastor Who Will Deliver Eulogy","tweet_link":"4_details-on-marvin-winans-pastor-who-will-deliver-eulogy","entry_text":"

Winans, a Grammy Award winner, is pastor of the Perfecting Church in Detroit, which he founded in the early 1990s. When you combine his ability to deliver a sermon and his musical background, he is the hands-down choice to celebrate Whitney's life at the church where she grew up singing, mesmerizing people with her talent as young as 12 years old.

Winans had a special bond with the pop star, say those who know him and knew Houston. His family has known the Houstons for years. Both are rooted in the church, and Winans married Whitney and R&B singer Bobby Brown, her ex-husband, in 1992. They have appeared onstage together but, more importantly, Winans knows the triumphs and trials of the musical celebrity that were at the center of her life.

","short_text":"

Winans, a Grammy Award winner, is pastor of the Perfecting Church in Detroit, which he founded in the early 1990s. When you combine his ability to deliver a sermon and his musical background, he is the hands-down choice to Read More"},{"id":"3","created":"02/18/2012 11:40 AM EST","title":"Roads shut down to public","tweet_link":"3_roads-shut-down-to-public","entry_text":"

NBC New York is reporting that a six-block radius has been blocked off outside of New Hope Bapitst Church, with fans not allowed to approach from two blocks.

","short_text":"

NBC New York is reporting that a six-block radius has been blocked off outside of New Hope Bapitst Church, with fans not allowed to approach from two blocks.

"},{"id":"2","created":"02/18/2012 11:33 AM EST","title":"List of speakers","tweet_link":"2_list-of-speakers","entry_text":"

TMZ has published a list of speakers at Houston's funeral, which includes Tyler Perry, Kevin Costner, Aretha Franklin, Clive Davis, Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, R. Kelly, Dionne Warwick and CeCe Winans.

","short_text":"

TMZ has published a list of speakers at Houston's funeral, which includes Tyler Perry, Kevin Costner, Aretha Franklin, Clive Davis, Stevie Wonde...Read More"}]

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Photos from the scene at Saturday's funeral:

Remembering Whitney
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