Whitney Houston laid to rest at private ceremony in New Jersey
Whitney Houston was laid to rest Sunday, February 19, at a brief private ceremony in New Jersey, the Associated Press reports.
A motorcade left from the Whigham Funeral Home in Newark to the Fairview Cemetery in Westfield about 20 miles away, where Houston was buried next to her father, John Russell Houston Jr., who died in 2003.
Houston was pronounced dead at age 48 at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, California on February 11, a day before the 2012 Grammy Awards.
A memorial service was held for the singer on February 18 and included guests like Alicia Keys and Stevie Wonder. Speakers included Kevin Costner, Tyler Perry, music mogul Clive Davis, who helped launch her career, gospel stars Kim Burrell and Donnie McClurkin, musical director Rickey Minor and Cece Winans, a gospel singer who is also the godmother of Houston's daughter. Gospel singer and pastor Marvin Winans gave the eulogy.
Costner gave an emotional speech that touched on their shared childhood experience growing up in Baptist churches, casting her in her iconic first role and her unwarranted insecurities.
"Whitney returns home today to the place where it all began, and I urge us all, inside and outside, across the nation and around the world to dry our tears, suspend our sorrow - and perhaps our anger - just long enough, just long enough to remember the sweet miracle of Whitney," Costner said.
The guest list also included Oprah Winfrey, Beyonce and husband Jay-Z, Elton John, David Bowie, Bill Cosby and Chaka Khan, who was the original singer of "I'm Every Woman," another song Houston sang in "The Bodyguard," a source close to the matter told the New Jersey Star-Ledger.
The funeral was closed to fans who gathered near the home on Sunday hoping to pay their respects to the late singer. Some ran alongside the hearse as it began the journey to Houston's gravesite, according to the wire service. Several yelled out "We love you, Whitney" as the hearse, which had a black and white headshot of the star in a window, slowly drove away.
Investigators have not revealed what killed Houston, who was found unconscious and underwater in a bathtub by a member of her staff. Her autopsy has been completed but the results will not be released until a toxicology report is produced, which could take up to eight weeks.
The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office recently issued subpoenas for Houston's medical and pharmacy records in a routine move that could speed up its investigation. Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said "a number of doctors" were contacted.
He had previously confirmed that bottles of prescription drugs were found near Houston's body on the day she died. A source close to the matter told OnTheRedCarpet.com that one of them was the antibiotic amoxicillin.
Mixed with alcohol, some medications can cause death. It is unclear what substances Houston ingested on the night she died. The singer had struggled with addictions to drugs such as cocaine and pills and alcohol for years. She relapsed and returned to rehab in May. Witnesses say they saw Houston drinking champagne the night before her death.