Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Huge Arena Funeral For Houston, Say Reports

Whitney Houston's funeral will be held at an 18,000-seater arena in New Jersey on Friday, according to reports.

TV networks in the US have reported that a private wake is planned for the star on Thursday before a ceremony is held at the Prudential Center the day after.

A picture of Houston appeared on the electronic board outside the arena, one of the nation's busiest entertainment venues, on Monday night as the 48-year-old's body was flown back to her home city of Newark.

The singer died in a hotel room at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles on Saturday.

Los Angeles-based celebrity website TMZ said a jet owned by film star and producer Tyler Perry was used to return the body to New Jersey.

A police escort accompanied the body as travelled from Teterboro Airport to the Whigham Funeral Home, the same place that arranged her father's funeral in 2003.
Fans awaited the arrival of Houston's body at the funeral home

Houston's family were thought to have been debating whether to have the smaller service at the New Hope Baptist Church, where family members have sung over the years.

It was while singing in the gospel choir at this church that Houston's powerful voice was first noticed.

Mourners have been flocking to the building to leave flowers, notes and candles.

If Houston's funeral is held at the Prudential Center it will echo the 2009 memorial held for Michael Jackson at LA's Staples Center.

But TMZ claimed there might have been a rift in Houston's family over where her funeral is taking place.

It states that the singer's mother Cissy and cousin Dionne Warwick both wanted the burial to take place in Atlanta.

Houston was found dead in a bath in her suite at the Beverly Hilton, hours before she was supposed to appear at a pre-Grammy Awardsparty.

She was under the water and apparently unconscious when found by members of her entourage, police said in a statement.

"Ms Houston was pulled from the tub by members of her staff and hotel security was promptly notified."

The LA police commented after widespread speculation about how the star, who had a well-documented battle with drug and alcohol addiction, died.

TMZ reported Houston did not die from drowning but a suspected "combination of Xanax and other prescription drugs mixed with alcohol".

It added that officials with the LA coroner's office had told the singer's family there was not enough water in her lungs "to lead to the conclusion that she drowned".

LA deputy coroner Ed Winter confirmed there were bottles of prescription medicines in the singer's room but would not give details.

"There weren't a lot of prescription bottles. You probably have just as many prescription bottles in your medicine cabinet," he said.

TMZ also claimed that some of the medicine bottles in the room appeared to be from the same pharmacy that was raided after Michael Jackson's death.

This has not been confirmed.

The actual cause of death will be determined by the coroner's office after final toxicology results are received.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Whitney Houston's body to be taken home to NJ

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Whitney Houston's body was set to be flown home to New Jersey late Monday for a funeral to be held at week's end, said two people who have spoken with her family.

The two people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak for the family and because funeral arrangements hadn't been completed.

Houston's family raised the possibility of holding a wake Thursday and funeral Friday at Newark's Prudential Center, an arena that hosts college and professional sport events and seats about 18,000 people.

The 48-year-old pop star was found dead in a bathtub in her suite at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in California on Saturday, hours before she was supposed to appear at a pre-Grammy Awards gala.

Funeral arrangements were being made by Newark's Whigham Funeral Home, which handled the 2003 funeral of Houston's father, John Houston, according to the two people who spoke to the AP.

A woman at the funeral home, where several police officers were stationed Monday afternoon, said she could neither confirm nor deny reports that it would handle the arrangements. A white tent was set up leading into the funeral home's rear entrance.

The Los Angeles coroner's office said Houston's body was released to the family late Monday morning.

Houston was born in Newark and was raised in nearby East Orange. She began singing as a child at Newark's New Hope Baptist Church, where her mother, Grammy-winning gospel singer Cissy Houston, led the music program for many years. Her cousin singer Dionne Warwick also sang in its choir.

On Monday, mourners left flowers, balloons and candles for Houston at the wrought-iron fence around the tall brick church, which sits near the edge of an abandoned housing project near the train line leading to New York City.

"She was an inspiration to everybody," said Gregory Hanks, a 26-year-old actor who grew up in the neighborhood and who dropped off a bouquet of flowers.

Hanks said he saw Houston perform at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center years ago.

"I grew up listening to her as a little boy, and to hear her sing, you knew she was special," he said.

Sandy Farrow, a technology consultant from Mitchellville, Md., who was in the area visiting relatives, said she was a senior at Clifford J. Scott High School in East Orange when Houston was a freshman.

"We felt like she put East Orange on the map," she said.

Farrow said Houston's death came as a shock.

"We lost somebody who I thought, after all her troubles, was coming back," Farrow said.

Across the street from the church, Bashir Rasheed set up shop with a duffel bag full of T-shirts reading "In Memory of Whitney Houston 1963-2012." He said he had sold 24 shirts at $10 apiece within a few hours.

Source: AP

Monday, February 13, 2012

Questions surround Whitney Houston death.


QUESTIONS are being raised about the circumstances behind the death of music legend Whitney Houston today.

The cause of the troubled star's demise is unknown but it has been reported that she "partied heavily" on Friday night.

Whitney died at the Beverly Hilton hotel where she was staying prior to her performance at a pre-Grammys party.

According to US showbiz website TMZ, the star was seen with a large group of friends at the hotel bar.

Worse for wear ... Whitney Houston on Thursday night 

Sources told the website that the group were drinking and standing out at the heaving venue.

Emergency services were called to Whitney's room on the fourth floor where they found security guards trying to revive her.

The attempts were unsuccessful and she was declared dead at 11:55pm, UK time.

Dazed ... singer looked confused as she left party in Hollywood 

Unconfirmed reports claim the body of the Saving All My Love For You singer was found in her hotel bath by a member of her entourage.

Police sealed off the room ahead of a search, TMZ claims.

The website also reports the police want to determine if there were drugs present.

The troubled star star looked distressed and disorientated as she left a club in Hollywood on Thursday night.

The singing diva, 48, was spotted leaving nightspot Tru Hollywood looking worse for wear.

The one-time Queen Of The Night had sung earlier in the evening at the Kelly Price & Friends Unplugged: For The Love Of R&B Grammy Party.

But her late-night appearance — looking haggard, angry and bleary-eyed — suggested she was still tackling her inner demons.

In 2001 Whitney was on top of the world and had signed the biggest record deal in music history, offering her £64million for six new albums.

But later that year she shocked fans with her gaunt appearance at a Michael Jackson tribute concert in New York.

In a US interview in December 2002 she admitted she had experimented with drugs and alcohol.

The six-times Grammy-winning singer, who sold 140 million albums and 50 million singles worldwide, made a comeback in 2009 after seven years and she explained to Oprah Winfrey in an epic chat how her life began to spiral out of control after her 1992 success in The Bodyguard.

Whitney revealed she spent seven months wearing just pyjamas in the depths of her drug hell with former husband Bobby Brown, before their 2006 split.

She said: "I don't like to think of myself addicted. I had a bad habit, which can be broken. I'm not gonna tell you I'm somebody's junkie. My business is sex, drugs, rock and roll. Trust me. I partied my tail off."

She admitted she would smoke marijuana and crack cocaine at the same time, and revealed her mother had to stage an intervention involving armed police to save her.

Her comeback also ended in disaster when fans complained she had lost her talent and seemed confused during concerts.

She also stunned UK fans with a bizarre, disorientated X Factor performance and oddly nervous interview.

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