Now that the autopsy has been completed, the body of Whitney Houston has been released by the medical examiner so that the family can being preparations for the late singer’s funeral. Apparently, there was some discussion about whether Whitney would be laid to rest in Atlanta, GA (where she lived for many years before her death) or in Newark, NJ (where she grew up as a child). NJ won out and yesterday afternoon, Whitney‘s body was flown by private jet to Newark where memorial and funeral preparations are now underway. As I understand it, the family is planning a small, private wake for Whitney (possibly on Thursday) before a possible larger, more public memorial takes place at the end of the week (on Friday?) … and then the very intimate private funeral for the family will take place at noon on Saturday.
A hearse and a large police procession arrived just before midnight Tuesday at a New Jersey funeral home that is handling the funeral arrangements for Whitney Houston. The hearse was escorted by police from Teterboro Airport to Whigham Funeral Home in Newark as a large crowd gathered. Cissy Houston, Houston’s mother, was waiting inside the funeral home, police said. Houston’s funeral will be held either Friday or Saturday at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., the singers hometown. The Prudential Center is a few miles away from the New Hope Baptist Church where Houston sang as a child. There was apparently a rift in the Houston family over where the famous singer should be laid to rest. TMZ reports that her mother and her cousin Dionne Warwick wanted her buried in Atlanta, a city she loved to spend time in. But the rest of the family wanted her laid to rest in Newark. In the end, the family won out — saying she’ll be most remembered at home in New Jersey.
Here is video of the arrival of Whitney‘s body in NJ last night where the hearse carrying her body was met by fans lining the street:
Here in LA, the memorial at the Beverly Hills Hilton hotel where Whitney died on Saturday continued to grow as mourners continue to leave flowers and gifts at the site. Among the mourners who showed up to pay their respects was none other than Paul McCartney and his wife Nancy Shevell:
Paul McCartney and his wife Nancy Shevell just swung by the Beverly Hilton hotel to lay flowers at a makeshift memorial for Whitney Houston … and TMZ has the pics. Paul and Nancy dropped a bouquet of yellow roses at the scene, shook hands with some of Whitney’s fans at the memorial and talked about how much they loved the late singer. We’re told the fans tried to compliment Paul on his performance at the Grammy Awards last night … but Paul brushed off the praise … insisting, “This is about Whitney, not me.” We can’t find any evidence that Paul and Whitney ever sang together … but clearly, the Beatles legend had a respect for her work.
Whitney Houston touched so many people in her life, I’m not surprised at all that Paul was a fan. I suspect that the next few days will be reserved for Whitney‘s family and friends to mourn privately but I understand there is a plan in motion for a big public memorial service to take place on Friday. I’m telling you right now, if David and I weren’t flying to Europe for our 6 year anniversary this week, I might be making plans to be in NJ to pay my final respects to Whitney Houston this coming weekend. Houston‘s actual funeral will take place this Saturday at noon at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, NJ … from there, Whitney will be laid to eternal rest.
[Photo credit: INFdaily; Source, Source, Source]