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Friday, February 17, 2012

Whitney Houston's Wake: Bobbi Kristina, Cissy, Family, Friends (Video)

Saying their goodbyes: Whitney Houston's mother Cissy and daughter Bobbi Kristina lead family mourners at wake ahead of funeral in star's New Jersey hometown

1) Whitney's daughter Bobbi Kristina pictured for first time since she was rushed to hospital following the singer's death

2) Throngs of fans line streets as police procession guides family and friends to private viewing ahead of funeral

3) Singer's mother Cissy leads family and friends including Dionne Warwick and Clive Davis

4) Ray- J, who has said Whitney will 'live in his heart forever', and his sister Brandy flew out of LAX

Whitney Houston's mother Cissy, and her daughter Bobbi Kristina led family and friends attending a private viewing at a funeral home in New Jersey today.

A tearful Cissy Houston arrived at Whigham Funeral Home in the singer's hometown of Newark as she joined close friend and relatives to pay their respects ahead of the funeral on Saturday.

As well as being surrounded by family the 78-year-old was accompanied by a strong police presence who ensured the large crowds of fans who gathered outside the home kept their distance.

Cissy was escorted into the building by a priest and held hands with a woman in a crisp white shirt. 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.

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

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.

Dionne Warwick was seen arriving and had wore a white shirt and a pair of dark trousers.

Whitney's mentor and life-long friend Clive Davies also made an appearance as reports have emerged the music producer tried to get the singer to enter rehab in the weeks leading up to her death.

Whitney's on-off boyfriend Ray-J was seen making his way through LAX airport with his sister Brandy on their way to New Jersey ahead of the funeral.

Kevin Costner, who starred opposite Houston in the 1992 film The Bodyguard, was also seen making his way east at the airport.

Fans gathered outside where they signed a book of condolence and laid tributes, including flowers, balloons and teddy bears.

It is expected that fans will be blocked off the site once the 48-year-old star's family arrives for her wake ahead of tomorrow's funeral.

Family including daughter Bobbi Kristina, 18, along with her grandmother Cissy, 78, Miss Houston's mother, are due to say a more private goodbye at the pre-funeral service.

The gold hearse which conveyed her body to the funeral home remained parked outside, while fans lined up to pay their respects.

Already, some were waiting outside the temporarily crash barriers near the funeral home.

David Bowie will supposedly be among those attending the private service as will Janet Jackson, rapper Jay-Z, Mariah Carey and R n B singer R Kelly.

Alicia Keys will reportedly perform, as will Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin, who was Miss Houston’s godmother.

The late singer’s husband Bobby Brown will also be attending after her family put aside their grievances and begrudgingly sent him an invitation.

It had been thought he would be kept away amid resentment he led his wife astray and fears he was trying to get his hands on her £25million fortune.

The 90-minute service will take place at noon local time at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey, where Miss Houston was first discovered as a teenager.

It will reportedly be a mixture of religious music and celebrity tributes including a speech from Kevin Costner, Miss Houston’s co-star in The Bodyguard.

The church’s choir will perform the processional and the opening and a house band will be on stage throughout.

The song list and who will be in the backing cast for each artist has not yet been worked out.

Among the others who will reportedly attend the service are Dionne Warwick, Miss Houston’s cousin, Bill Cosby and U.S. chat show queen Oprah Winfrey.

R n B singer Brandy will be there as will The Rev Jessie Jackson, Chaka Khan and US X Factor judge Antonio 'L.A.' Reid.

Sir Elton John has denied reports he will be there.

The eulogy will be read by the Pastor Marvin Winans, who married Miss Houston and Brown in 1992.

All the proceedings will be streamed live on the Internet and roadblocks will be in place around the church to keep the public back and ensure those attending can get there on time.

Just hours later Brown, 43, will apparently split from the rest of his grieving family and travel to Connecticut - where he will play a lucrative concert at a casino.

The funeral comes one week after Houston was found dead in the bath of her hotel room in Los Angeles.

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.

Ray J, who was dating Whitney in the months before her death has finally broken 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 today catching a flight to New Jersey ahead of Whitey's service tomorrow.

Today it has been revealed 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 tomorrow by Whitney's family but is unable to attend because of prior family commitments TMZ reports.

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Sources: Daily Mail,, Google Maps

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