A hearse appearing to contain the body of pop icon Whitney Houston arrived in Newark, New Jersey late Monday night.
The gold-colored hearse with dark tinted windows dropped off the casket at Whigham Funeral Home in a tent which concealed the procedure from fans and photographers who descended on the scene, Newark Patch reports.
Houston’s mother Cissy and other family members were seen entering the funeral home about 15 minutes before the hearse arrived at the venue.
The AP had previously reported that Houston’s invitation-only funeral would be held Saturday in the first in the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, where Houston first performed as a child.
The funeral home denied previous reports that indicated a wake might be held at Newark’s 18,000 capacity Prudential Center.
Houston, who died last Saturday at the age of 48, was born in Newark and grew up in East Orange. On Monday, officials from the L.A. County Coroner’s office confirmed that prescription medications were found in the Beverly Hilton hotel room where she died, but maintained there was not an excessive amount of drugs on the scene.
The late singer was in Beverly Hills for producer Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy party, held at the Beverly Hilton, Saturday night. In the days leading up to her death, Houston made several public appearances and was said to have been acting strangely; she was spotted skipping around a ballroom and doing handstands near the hotel pool, the the Los Angeles Times reported.
An autopsy of the icon’s body was completed, but results were placed on lockdown pending further investigation. Police found no obvious signs of trauma on Houston’s body and the death is not being investigated as a homicide.
Bobby Brown, Houston’s ex-husband released a statement shortly after he and Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina was transported to the hospital. “At this time, we ask for privacy, especially for my daughter, Bobbi Kristina ,” Brown wrote. “I appreciate all of the condolences that have been directed toward my family and I at this most difficult time.” Bobbi Kristina was later released, and sources close to the family said she was treated for anxiety.
Brown performed as part of New Edition on the day Houston passed away, but was overcome with emotion once he took the stage.
Singer Jennifer Hudson paid tribute to Houston on stage at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards on February 12, singing a cover of “I Will Always Love You.”
by Kia Makarechi