(NEWARK, N.J.) — Mourners gathered early Sunday morning in Newark to pay tribute to one of their own.
It was here, at the New Hope Baptist Church, where Whitney Houston honed her skills as a young singer as part of the church choir. The Grammy-winning singer died Saturday at a Beverly Hills hotel. She was 48.
Rev. Joe A. Carter led a small memorial service of about 60 guests Sunday at the same church her mother, Cissy, attends and is the choir director. Houston began singing in the church choir when she was just 11 years old.
“She was a treasure on a global scale and, on a personal note, with our church family,” Carter said. “We’re asking everyone to pray for her family at this hour. We’re asking all to respect them at this hour of grieving.”
Newmark mayor Cory Booker tweeted his respect to the music icon, saying “RIP Whitney Houston, a Legend and great American artist. And always, one of Newark’s and New Jersey’s treasured daughters.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Brett Crandall, BYU-Idaho Communications
Sandra Gonzalez, CNN