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.
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
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."
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