Guests Gather for Whitney Houston Memorial in Newark

World | February 18, 2012, Saturday // 17:47|  views

The hearse carrying the body of US singer Whitney Houston leaves Whigham Funeral Home proceeding to the New Hope Baptist Church for Houston`s funeral, in Newark, New Jersey, USA, 18 February 2012. EPA/BGNES

Guests have begun to arrive Saturday morning Eastern Time for the private, invitation-only funeral of Whitney Houston at the New Hope Baptist Church, where Houston wowed the congregation with her powerful voice even as a young girl.

A hearse carrying the singer's body arrived there earlier, CBS reported, pointing out that to the world, Whitney Houston was the pop queen with the perfect voice, the dazzling diva with regal beauty, a troubled superstar suffering from addiction and, finally, another victim of the dark side of fame.

To her family and friends, she was just "Nippy." A nickname given to Houston when she was a child, it stuck with her through adulthood and, later, would become the name of one of her companies. To them, she was a sister, a friend, a daughter, and a mother.

While the world remembers Houston from afar, those closest to her are gathering Saturday for a private funeral service to say goodbye.

A few fans gathered Saturday morning hours before the service as close as they could get to the church, some from as far away as Washington, D.C., and Miami.

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Tags: Newark, whitney houston, funeral, memorial service


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