(NEW YORK) — Whitney Houston will be laid to rest at a private funeral in New Jersey on Saturday, not at the Prudential Center arena, as had been previously speculated.
“Whitney Houston’s funeral will be held at noon on Saturday at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark,” Carolyn Wigham, the owner of the Wigham Funeral Home, told reporters Tuesday. New Hope is the same church where Houston honed her powerful voice in the choir.
Wigham said that Houston’s mother, Cissy Houston, was at the funeral home until 2 a.m. Tuesday morning. She “made it clear that a funeral must be inside a church,” and the Prudential Center, where a public memorial for Houston was said to be in the works, is not an appropriate venue.
On Monday night, Houston’s body arrived via private jet and gold-colored hearse to her home state of New Jersey, two days after she was found dead in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. The plane believed to be carrying the singer’s body landed at Teterboro Airport, north of Newark, at 10:31 p.m. ET.
Many of Houston’s friends and family have left also California for New Jersey. Her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, and Houston’s brother-in-law and bodyguard, Ray Watson, are among the family members who are now back in the Garden State.
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Brianna Owczarza & Meg McLeod, CNN
Frank Pallotta, CNN
Jethro Mullen, CNN