Whitney Houston Laid to Rest in Private Burial
On Saturday, Whitney Houston was memorialized in a star-studded, live-streamed tribute at her childhood church; on Sunday, her family kept the media at a distance as they buried Houston near her father's grave site at a New Jersey cemetery.
Houston was laid to rest close by her father, John Russell Houston, who died in 2003, according to Newark's Star-Ledger newspaper. About twenty minutes before noon, a funeral procession arrived at Fairfield cemetery: police cars escorted Houston's gold hearse, which played "I Will Always Love You" while the driver cried behind the wheel; a black-and-white glamour photo of Houston was posted on a window; a crowd of about 100 fans gathered on the street outside the site.
The low-key, somber Sunday ceremony was a difference in scale and mood from Saturday's memorial and celebration of Houston's life and career. Media outlets from CNN to E! Entertainment broadcast the four-hour event at Newark's New Hope Baptist Church, where stars from Tyler Perry to Oprah Winfrey to Kevin Costner came to pay their respects to Houston.
The pop superstar died Feb. 11 at the age of 48 in Los Angeles; her body was found submerged in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, and she was pronounced dead about half an hour later. An autopsy has been completed but the results are on hold pending a toxicology report and police investigation as to whether prescription drugs played any part in her death.
In the days before Houston's passing, the singer told her mentor, Clive Davis, that she planned to get back on track ahead of the August release of her movie, Sparkle, in which she plays the mother of a trio of singers.
"It was like old times and she looked at me and quietly said, 'I want you to know I’m getting in shape. I’m swimming an hour or two a day and I’m committed to get my high notes back -- no cigarettes -- plenty of vocal exercising -- Clive, I’ll be ready by August,'" Davis said in his eulogy Saturday. "Well, Whitney I’m gonna hold you to it. Everyone in heaven -- including God -- is waiting. And I just know you’re gonna raise the roof like no one has ever done before."