Custom Search

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Whitney Houston's Home Going Service Highlights: R.I.P.

Pastor Marvin Winans, February 18, 2012, Newark, NJ, Whitney Houston's Home Going Service:
"God works all things after the counsel of his own will.
To Understand that you are NOT a mistake,
that you are not a mishap but that God had a Purpose before he ever created a person.
And that your existence on Earth has Significance.
So you recognize that you did NOT just show up but that God had a purpose for you."

Whitney Houston's Home Going Service Highlights

1) Bobby Brown was seen storming out of the church shortly before the service began

2) Gave a statement afterwards saying: 'I fail to understand why security treated my family this way'

3) Boyfriend Ray J reached out and touched the casket as it was led out, overcome with emotion

4) Kevin Costner fought back tears as he shared memories of his long friendship with the star

5) Aretha Franklin 'too ill' to sing or attend service

6) Alicia Keys wept as she remembered her friend

7) Cousin Dionne Warwick officiated the ceremony

8) Mentor Clive Davis said: 'You wait a life time for a voice like that to come along'

9) Revealed singer told him she was kicking her old habits and said she would be 'ready by August'

10) Stevie Wonder said Whitney was his crush in his fantasy world

11) Mother Cissy Houston wrote on the program: 'I thank God for the beautiful flower he allowed me to raise and cherish for 48 years'

As her silver casket was carried out of the church where she first sang as a child, Whitney Houston's unforgettable voice could be heard singing her greatest hit I Will Always Love You, reducing many mourners to tears, as the star made her final journey before being laid to rest.

Whitney’s mother Cissy followed right behind the casket and had to be supported by two helpers as she tearfully watched her only daughter’s coffin being taken out.

Bobbi Kristina followed closely behind as the sobs of Cissy Houston could be heard throughout the church as she wailed: 'My baby!'

Shortly before the service began, the star's distraught ex-husband Bobby Brown was seen storming out of the church after arguing with Houston's family over the number of guests he was allowed to bring to the service.

The late singer will be laid to rest tomorrow alongside her father John Houston.

The casket will be watched by 10 security guards until her burial, TMZ reported.

Among the mourners at today's highly-charged service, were singers Chaka Khan, Brandy, Roberta Flack, Jordin Sparks and Jennifer Hudson. Singer Ray J, who spent time with Houston during her last days, broke down crying before the service had even begun.

Mother Cissy and daughter Bobbi Kristina, 18, were in the front row, both in black, both with heads bowed in grief.

After storming out, Bobby Brown was driven away from the funeral but later returned in time for the start of the home going service.

Brown got into an argument with Whitney's family over whether or not he could bring nine people into the church with him. He was invited and told he could bring two people but instead showed up with an entourage of nine.

Bobby reportedly became upset when he was told his party could not be seated. He was also refused to sit beside his daughter Bobbi Kristina in the front row.

In a statement put out by his representative after the funeral ended, he explained: 'My children and I were invited to the funeral of my ex-wife Whitney Houston.

We were seated by security and then subsequently asked to move on three separate occasions.
'I fail to understand why security treated my family this way and continue to ask us and no one else to move. Security then prevented me from attempting to see my daughter Bobbi-Kristina.

In light of the events, I gave a kiss to the casket of my ex-wife and departed as I refused to create a scene.

'My children are completely distraught over the events.

This was a day to honor Whitney. I doubt Whitney would have wanted this to occur.

I will continue to pay my respects to my ex-wife the best way I know how.'

Speaking to CNN, Rev Al Sharpton said: ‘I talked to Bobby. He came to show love and respect to Whitney and Bobbi Kristina. He said all he wanted was to show respect and love. Bishop T. D. Jakes and I spoke to him earlier and he just wanted to show his respects.’

Speaking afterwards, Narada Michael Walden, who produced some of Houston's hits, said it was a 'beautiful service'.

He said: 'Everyone was feeling Whitney's spirit in there, it was beautiful.

'Steve Wonder changed the lyrics of his song to honour her.

It was a great way to remember her'.

Another mourner said: 'It was a wonderful homecoming'.

Legendary singer Roberta Flack, who was among the mourners, said: 'It was incredible and very emotional.

'It was very much something that Whitney as an exquisite and exceptional musician would have loved.

'During the service I could not help but think how young she was.'

Whitney’s body was taken back to the funeral home directly afterwards and took the mile journey along the streets that she grew up in.

The service started off with a brief welcome by City Mayor Cory Booke, pastor Joe Carter took to the altar to read some scripture and start the celebration of Whitney's life.

He said: 'Whitney you are the only woman who could bring all of us together, Whitney today is your day.'

A program featuring a picture of Houston looking skyward read: 'Celebrating the life of Whitney Elizabeth Houston, a child of God'. Pictures of Houston as a baby, with her mother, gospel singer Cissy Houston and daughter, Bobbi Kristina filled the program.

'I never told you that when you were born, the Holy Spirit told me that you would not be with me long,' Cissy Houston wrote her daughter in a letter published in the program. 'And I thank God for the beautiful flower he allowed me to raise and cherish for 48 years.'

'Rest, my baby girl in peace,' the letter ends, signed 'mommie'.

Gospel singer Donnie McClurken was the first soloist to sing. He performed Stand which was a request from the Houston family. As he came up to sing he briefly stopped to greet Whitney’s mother Cissy and her daughter Bobbi Kristina.

Members of the congregation stood up and started raising their hands and praising as Donnie McClurken sang to the congregation accompanied by the large gospel choir.

Dionne Warwick, who is officiating the service and introducing the guests to the congregation, told McClurkin after his performance: 'This song means a lot to Cissy and a great deal to Whitney so thank you.'

She then invited Tyler Perry to come and say a few words.

He started by saying: 'It was Pat (Whitney’s sister-in-law) that introduced me to Whitney. I met her a few years ago. She told me about things that she went through. I saw this sadness and heaviness.

'But before she would say what was bothering her she would interrupt and say "But the Lord... But my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ". I’m thankful for all that God has done in her life.

'There was a grace that followed her through her life. There was a grace that kept on carrying her. She loved the Lord.'

He ended by saying: 'God bless you family. We love you Whitney.'

He told the story through tears and laughter at how giving their long term friend was.

Bebe Winans sang a heartfelt rendition of I Really Miss You. The lyrics of which speak of how much he will miss her ‘wit, charm, just want to hold you in my arms.’
'I’ll miss her voice when she will call. I’ll miss her smile most of all. I’m gonna miss you.’

During the song, Bebe’s voice broke as he became emotional and he ended the song in tears.

Dionne Warwick said: ‘That’s someone who truly knew Whitney. He loved the lord and still does.'

She then invited gospel singer Bebe Winans to come up and sing.

Bebe Winans and his sister CeCe Winans came up to the altar. CeCe was a close friend of Whitney’s and is Bobbi Kristina’s Godmother.

'Whitney invited us over to her home and we sat in her closet. It was a huge closet,’ Bebe said.

He told the story of how Whitney changed her tour so they would be the ones to headline instead of her which made ‘Clive Davies’ mad.

He said that she was doing it because they were ‘poor’ and she was ‘rich’ and she wanted to help them and get them more exposure.

Warwick then invited renowned pastor Bishop T. D. Jakes to the pew who met her on the set of the remake of Sparkle, Whitney’s final movie which will be released in August, which he helped to produce.

'Surrounded by friends and admirers enthralled by the beautiful Whitney Houston.

But that’s not what brings you here because you knew who she was. Not what she did. You shared her with the world and we just want to take a moment to say thank you,’ he opened up with saying.

He embarked on a sermon where he talked about the Bible and spoke of love being stronger than death.

'One day you’ll be driving and hear Whitney’s voice in your head, something that she said or did, and you’ll giggle. They may leave you outwardly but they never leave you inwardly,' he finished.

Kim Burrell was next to take to the altar. The gospel singer and pastor says Whitney helped her in the start in her career.

She was supposed to sing I Believe In You and Me, a favourite of Whitney’s, but she instead did a personalised version of A Change Is Going To Come, where she sang that a change had to come in Whitney’s life.

Her lyrics were directed to Whitney’s mother Cissy and sang about how she would get on her knees and pray for her daughter during all the trials and tribulations in her life.
'Whitney a change has come,’ she ended the song with, before going to hug Cissy.

The Bodyguard co-star Kevin Costner got up to share memories of his time with his beloved friend.

He started by saying: 'I would like to thank Cissy and Dionne for the honour of being here. Everyone treating my wife and I so gracefully.'

'The song I Will Always Love You almost wasn’t. She was meant to sing What Becomes of the Broken Hearted. So what becomes our broken hearts.

'For a moment we should dry our tears, suspend our sorrow and anger. Never forgot that Cissy and Bobbi Kristina are sitting among us.

'Your mother and I had a lot in common,' he said to Bobbi Kristina. 'He’s a boy, she’s a girl. I’m white, she’s black. You’d think we had nothing in common but we did.

'We both grew up in a Baptist church. My grandmother led the choir and played the piano.

Kevin told stories of his childhood in the church that Whitney enjoyed him telling her when they worked together including him 'drinking grape juice' in the back of the church.

He laughed: 'I can see her as a skinny girl running around this place, using her smile to get out of trouble and Cissy having enough of it. Whitney said she was waiting no whisper, her mother Cissy and cousin Dionne.

'As I’m sure of Whitney’s place in musical history. I’m also sure of how she felt about her mother. Was she good enough. Could I have done better.

Did they really like me or were they just being polite because they’re scared of you Cissy?’

He spoke about how there was initial anxiety about Whitney, a black woman, to play alongside Kevin Costner

He said that there was a sigh of relief when it turned out that Whitney was going to be able to do The Bodyguard because she was going to be one tour. But Kevin said he would wait a year for so she would be available.

'Whitney was nervous and scared that she wasn’t good enough for the role. But I told her I would be with her every step of the way.

'I wanted to tell her that the fame was rigged. That I didn’t care how the test went, that she could fall down and start speaking in tongues. That somehow it was a kind of acting method.

'The Whitney I knew despite her worldwide fame always worried. Am I good enough. Am I pretty enough. Will they like me. The part that made her great and the part that made her great was also the part that made her stumble.

'A lot of men could have played my role. But you Whitney were the only person who could have played Rachel Marron.

'People didn’t just like you Whitney. They loved you. I was your pretend bodyguard once. And now you’re gone too soon.

'What you did was the rarest of achievements. You set the bar so high. That your colleagues don’t even sing that little country song. What’s the point.

I think Whitney would tell you, little girls wanting to become singers. Guard your bodies and guard the precious miracle you have.'

Fighting back tears he said: 'Off you go Whitney, off you go. Escorted by an army of angels to your heavenly father. When you sing before him. Don’t you worry. You will be good enough.'

Singer Alicia Keys was next to perform and, introducing her Dionne Warwick said she was 'a young lady that Whitney adored'.

Alicia was tearful as she walked to the piano and spoke about her friendship with the singer.

'We called each other Meema. She was such a beautiful human being. Call you for no reason at all but just to say hi. And that’s rare I think sometimes.

'I feel like in so many ways she reached back to me and to Michael and Brandy and Jordin and all these young artists and made us feel strong and capable and loved. I think she is an angel to us. She has been an angel to us.'

Alicia then sang a medley of songs on the piano starting with Send Me An Angel, changing the lyrics to Whitney is an Angel.

She tightly embraced Cissy and Bobbi Kristina as she stepped off the altar.

Clive Davis was introduced next.

He was Whitney’s mentor and guided her career for decades. It was Davis’ annual pre-Grammy party that Whitney was getting ready for on Saturday February 11. She ran a bath in her room at the Beverly Hilton hotel but never made it out. She was found dead minutes later.

He said being in the church was helping him and told of how he lost his mother as a teen when his mother was 47 and he lost his father the following year.

'I’ve felt my mother’s guidance and she’s helped me through my life. You wait for a voice life Whitney’s for a lifetime. A voice like that. A smile like that. And for someone to embody all of those things is astounding.

'Whitney and I spent Tuesday afternoon at the Beverly Hills hotel [days before she died] and saw that she had applied some makeup. She was one beautiful woman.

'We talked non-stop music. In the past every hit we shared was pure joy. When she broke that record of seven consecutive number ones. We felt utter disbelief. We pinched ourselves. She was never arrogant.

'Whitney held my hand when I worried about her getting The Bodyguard. But she dazzled in her close ups during Run To You. She captured the world forever with I Will Always Love You.

'Is there anyone who has sang Star Spangled Banner that remotely compares to her. Will there ever be?' he asked.

He spoke about the songs they listened to and recorded over the years and said the songs were ‘scorching his brain’ right now.

'Yes she spoke to Oprah about her searing battles but when I needed her she was there. She was there for me. And entirely loyal friend,. I believe in you and me.

'I was her industry father and was so proud of it. And Bobbi Kristina - she loved you so very much. She defined not only pure talent but true heart and soul. She will forever be looking after you and never let go of your hand. You should be so proud of your mother.

'She came to see me and was excited about the new cuts from her new movie Sparkle,' he said of the soundtrack.

'I’ve been swimming every day,’ Whitney told Clive. ‘I’m committed to getting my high notes back. No cigarettes. Clive I’ll be ready by August.

Well Whitney I will be ready by August. Everyone in heaven including God are waiting. And I just know you will raise the roof like no one has done before.’

Dionne went to introduce Aretha Franklin who was scheduled to perform but she had evidently not heard that that Aretha had pulled out due to illness and experiencing leg spasms.

'She loved Whitney as if she was born to her. She was her Godmother,’ Dionne said before introducing Ray Watson who was Whitney’s bodyguard.

'I was her bodyguard for almost 11 years. On the set of Sparkle everyone had left and I really wanted to go home.’

He shared a story about driving Whitney a far distance because she didn’t want to fly on that particular journey.

Watson said she was scared because he was carrying ‘precious cargo'.

'I lost a friend, a boss, a sister, but then your spirit came and saw me she said you are free. In those 11 years I was by her side. Through thick and thin,’ he said.

'God gave us an angel – to Miss Houston. We have to give back to our entertainers.

Treat them with dignity and with love. Stop ridiculing them,' he said which made people stand and applaud. 'This lady right here she loved you. I was with her almost every day and I know that.’

Stevie Wonder took to the piano next to serenade the congregation.

'Dionne, Cissy and to all the family, I want you to know - as have millions of people said - not just in this time but throughout her career, we loved her so much and that won’t stop,' he said.

'In my fantasy world I had a crush on Whitney,’ he laughed. 'I understand that Ribbons in the Sky is one of the ones that she liked a lot,’ Stevie said before explaining that he changed the lyrics to make it more appropriate for church and the occasion.

'What God gives is never a coincidence and more than a happenstance,’ he sang. ‘Who can lose with God on our side. And no more Whitney do you have to cry. You will always be our ribbon in the sky. And angel from God’s choir of love. Whitney an angel from the choir. From God’s choir of love.’

He received a standing ovation when he finished his heart-wrenching tribute to Whitney.

Pat Houston, Whitney’s manager and sister-in-law was next to speak.
'There is so much I could say about her. A life misunderstood.

Sometimes misunderstood even by herself,’ she said.

'When she did not want to do things she did them anyway. It is this special gift of giving. Some were jealous and envious but Whitney gave anyway. She knew in the final analysis it will be between her and God.

'My hope is that you will remember her. To my mother-in-law – the choice was always hers. There were people that God couldn’t heal,’ Pat said.

'Clive you were the rock that held her together professionally.

She referred to you as industry father. You gave her hope. Thank you for your excellence, your loving kindness, peace, dedication and most importantly your love for Whitney all these years.

'LA Reid there was much love for you. Clive was her industry father. You were her industry uncle.

'Her work ethics were impeccable. She put the spark in Sparkle and Krissy that was for you,’ she said of Whitney’s film role in Sparkle.

Pat then thanked a list of people including agents, managers, friends, Oprah, Tyler Perry, band members.

Cece Winans, Whitney’s close friend, gave a stirring performance of Don’t Cry For Me.
The Grammy-award-winning singer sang a duet with Whitney on the track Count on Me for the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack.

She then sang Yes Jesus Loves Me which was the final song that Whitney sang two days before her death.

Bobbi Kristina was seen putting her hand around the waist of her grandmother Cissy and comforting her as she bent over in tears.

Rickey Minor, Whitney’s musical director was the next to speak. He is the musical director for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno after leaving American Idol.

He spoke about Whitney’s style, grace and voice and saying that she changed his life.

They collaborated and worked together for 30 years and he shared one of his most memorable moments with her – when she sang the National Anthem at the Super Bowl.

He said that he had no idea her rendition would have been so successful and even enter the Billboard charts.

Rev Marvin Winans gave the eulogy and started by inviting his siblings and family members to sing the song Tomorrow which Whitney used to sing when she started out her career and was one of her favourites.

Moments after the drama singer Stevie Wonder arrived and was led up the church steps and through the front door.

It is thought the Houston family arrived in four limousines and were given a police escort with motorcycle outriders and two police cars at the front and the back of their convoy.

According to CNN, guests held in their hands an invitation with a cover featuring a photo of a smiling Houston. The six-page funeral program contained color family photos and a note from Cissy Houston, the singer's mother.

Close family friend Aretha Franklin, whom Houston lovingly called Aunt Ree, was expected to sing at the service but was too ill to attend, said a person close to the Houston family who was not authorized to talk about Franklin's decision and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Rev Jackson confirmed to CNN she would not be singing: 'She was at a tremendous event last night at Radio City [Music Hall].

She was up much of the night hosting guests, she had leg spasms.

'She's all right, but she can't do that and reconcile this with her feelings and her schedule.

The flower-covered casket arrived at the church where her powerful voice first wowed a congregation as family made final preparations to remember the pop superstar in her hometown.

Mourners at the New Hope Baptist Church, including the Rev Jesse Jackson, fell quiet as three police officers escorted Houston's silver casket, draped with white roses and purple lilies, a couple of hours before the service.

White-robed choir members began to fill the pews on the podium. As the band played softly, the choir sang in a hushed voice, Whitney, Whitney, Whitney'.

The service marked exactly one week after the 48-year-old Houston -- one of music's all-time biggest stars -- was found dead in a Beverly Hills hotel in California. A cause of death has yet to be determined.

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.

'She always had the edge,' Rev Jackson said outside the church on Saturday. 'You can tell when some kids have what we call a special anointing. Aretha had that when she was 14. Whitney cultivated that and took it to a very high level.

'The memories are so powerful, the music will be with us forever. We have a lot to rejoice about. Today we praise, we preach and we appreciate.

'Whitney had that special something.'

According to the invitation issued to the singer's friends and family, the ceremony was seen as a 'going home' service rather than a funeral.

The invitation, featuring a picture of the smiling star that appears to date back to the peak of her success in the early 1990s, stated: 'With heartfelt gratitude, the Houston family requests the honour of your presence at the home going service for Whitney Elizabeth Houston.'

Pastor Joe Carter, who read the scripture, said the service was a musical celebration of Whitney Houston's life.

Houston's South Orange grade-school principal Henry Hamilton said outside the funeral home before the service: 'It's a beautiful day, the sun is shining, she's up there, this is Whitney's day.'

Traffic cones lined the street outside the church where those attending were dropped off for the service.

The electronic sign outside the front simply read 'Whitney Houston' followed by her date of birth then the words: 'We will always love you'.

The streets around the building were closed off for six blocks on either side to ensure the public had no access to the surrounding area.

Most had also apparently followed police instructions not to attend. But small pockets of fans got as close to the church as they possibly could.

Before the service, they had already covered the front of the church in dozens of balloons, flowers and card that formed a deep 12ft by 6ft blanket by the entrance.

On the streets there was a heavy police presence with mounted officers patrolling around, a police helicopter flying overhead and police cars by barricades.

Houston's fans were so desperate to be at the service that some journeyed 500 miles from Canada or slept in their cars overnight by the church to be there.

With no single point of focus, they ended up grouping in bunches of 50-100 at various points around the perimeter of the fenced off zone singing Houston's hits like I Will Always Love You and I'm Every Woman.

Vendors sold T-Shirts and posters with Houston's name on them whilst one man used a pair of opera glasses to see what was going on. Others had radios they were carrying around with Houston's music blaring out of them.

Most of the fans wanted to be there on what they said was a 'historic day' but there was also frustration and anger that they had been kept back at least three blocks from the church with one man claiming Houston's mother Cissy had 'betrayed' them.

Melanie Moulton, 37, had set off in her car from her home in Whitby, Ontario in Canada at 3am on Friday and arrived in Newark around 2pm that afternoon. Her mother Rita, 61, had travelled with her too and the pair spent a night in a hotel nearby to make sure they were able to get a good spot.

The journey was around 500 miles and the pair estimated they spent 'hundreds of dollars' on the trip including gas and accommodation.

Melanie Moulton said: 'If I had lived on the other side of the world, I would still have come here today. I've loved Whitney since I was a girl and hearing her music made me to get into music production. It's just such a loss she has gone. She was my inspiration'.

Security guard Deehaven Murphy, 33, said: 'Whitney shows you how to love, she teaches you how to love. There will be a void in my life now she's gone.

'It's sad how we are being kept back so far and her mother should have let the real fans pay their respects. Her mother is responsible for this and she has snubbed the fans, she betrayed us.

Hairstylist Sheena Braxton, 46, and her friend Rochelle Johnson, 44, also a hairstylist, had worked through the night at their home in Waldorf, Maryland to print up T-Shirt in Houston's honour.

They hardly slept and set off at 5am to get to New Jersey.

Miss Braxton said she had printed up 144 T-Shirts that she was selling for $10 each as a 'tribute'.

She said: 'Whitney could touch you like nobody could imagine. There won't ever be anybody else like her.

'When I first heard the news I was at home on my couch and a chill came over my body and I said: 'No, not Whitney, no way'. I feel so close to her, her music touches your soul.
'I just wanted to be here to pay my respects. She meant so much to me.'

Yesterday, the late singer's family members - including her mother Cissy and daughter Bobbi Kristina - took the opportunity to pay their respects in private.

Bobbi Kristina, 18, seen for the first time since being rushed to hospital after collapsing through stress following her mother's passing, was seen arriving at Whigham Funeral Home in the singer's hometown of Newark, New Jersey, alongside her tearful grandmother Cissy Houston.

They were later joined by famous faces including Houston's life-long friend and mentor Clive Davis and as well as the singer's cousin Dionne Warwick.

Funeral director Caroline Whigham told the crowd gathered outside that the viewing 'was done in privacy between a mother, a daughter, two brothers and a family,' according to People magazine.

Cissy was escorted into the building by a priest and held hands with a woman in a crisp white shirt yesterday afternoon. The former gospel singer was dressed smartly in a black coat with an orange and brown leopard print scarf wrapped around her shoulders.

Whitney's daughter Bobbi Kristina, pictured in public for first time since she was rushed to hospital following the singer's death in a Beverly Hills hotel, arrived at the funeral home in dark jeans, white vest and a black jacket.

She appeared controlled as she entered the funeral home. 'There are moments when she is strong and moments when it all hits her,' a source told People magazine. 'She can't escape it.'

The 18-year-old is the daughter of Houston and her former husband Bobby Brown. It has been reported that the teen will now live with her grandmother 'indefinitely' according to

However, a new report on this morning claimed that Houston's family are keen for Bobbi Kristina to enter a 'live-in rehab facility' as soon as possible, but are willing to wait until after the funeral to allow the teenager time to grieve her mother's passing.

The website claims that Bobbi has, for the past three of four years, struggled with 'substance abuse issues', and her family are said to be keen for her to seek help before her problems get any worse.

The teenager hid her eyes between a pair of sunglasses and held the hand of a friend as she walked past security. Family and friends were greeted by what appeared to be an Egyptian-decorated casket outside the home.

As well as close family of Whitney in attendance friends also gathered together to pay their respects.

Aretha Franklin believed Whitney Houston had overcome her demons and was primed for a comeback, which made learning of the troubled singer’s death all the more shocking.

The Queen of Soul said she was watching TV in her hotel room in Charlotte, North Carolina, when she learned of Houston’s death in a hotel suite across the country in Beverly Hills, California.

She said she had seen recent video of Houston, 'and she looked fresh, she looked healthy and she looked gorgeous. And I thought, "Yes, she has conquered her challenges and she’s on the way".'

Now her fans should remember Houston for her artistry, Franklin said, and not focus on the challenges she faced with substance abuse.

Her last album, I Look To You, debuted on the top of the charts when it was released in 2009 with strong sales, but didn't have the staying power of her previous records. A tour the next year was doomed by cancellations because of illness and sub-par performances.

But a comeback was on the horizon. She was to star in the remake of the movie Sparkle and friends and family said she was working on new music.

Ray J, who was dating Whitney in the months before her death finally broke his silence.

The 31-year-old released a statement that said: 'Over the past few days, I've tried to process the emptiness that I am experiencing. What my heart feels cannot be expressed in words. The world lost an icon, but I lost my close friend.'

Alluding to a nickname given to Whitney by her father he added: 'Nippy, I miss you so much!'

'You were so happy and full of love. Your smile will live in my heart forever.'
Ray J was seen at LAX airport on Friday catching a flight to New Jersey ahead of Whitney's service today.

It has also revealed yesterday that Mel Gibson reached out to the I Didn’t Know My Own Strength singer a few years ago to try and deal with her addiction issues.
The Braveheart star was invited to the funeral by Whitney's family but is unable to attend because of prior family commitments, TMZ reports.

Police have reportedly obtained her medical records and are investigating what drugs were supplied to her in her final days.

No cause of death has been identified yet and officials are waiting for the results of toxicology tests.

View Larger Map

Sources: AP, CNN, Daily Mail,, TMZ, Youtube, Google Maps

No comments: