NEWARK, N.J. (WWJ/AP) – Legendary pop singer Whitney Houston was laid to rest Saturday.
To the world, 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.
“We are here today, hearts broken but yet with God’s strength we celebrate the life of Whitney Houston,” the Rev. Joe A. Carter told the packed New Hope Baptist Church in New Jersey after the choir behind him sang “The Lord is My Shepherd.”
Mourners including singer Jennifer Hudson and Houston’s mother, gospel singer Cissy Houston, stood, swayed and clapped along in the aisles as gospel singers BeBe Winans and the Rev. Kim Burrell joined with pop stars like Alicia Keys in paying tribute to the 48-year-old pop superstar who first began singing in the Newark church.
Houston died Feb. 11 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. Celebrity watchdog website TMZ.com reported that Houston’s family was told by L.A. County Coroner officials … the singer died from what appears to be a combination of Xanax and other prescription drugs mixed with alcohol.