(NEW YORK) — With Whitney Houston’s body back in her home state of New Jersey, the 48-year-old singer’s funeral is likely days away. And like her career, it could be a sensation.
A source in the family confirmed to ABC News late Monday that plans are in place for a family service on Thursday and a public memorial at the Prudential Center — an indoor arena in Newark that can accommodate nearly 20,000 people — on Friday.
Asked if the memorial would be on the scale of Michael Jackson’s 2009 memorial at Los Angeles’ Staples Center, the source said, “It’s going to be big.”
Much of the Houston family has left Los Angeles 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. So is the fallen singer’s body, which was transported across the country in a private jet Monday night after being released by the Los Angeles coroner.
According to ABC News’ New York affiliate WABC-TV, Houston’s funeral arrangements are expected to be handled by the Whigham Funeral Home in Newark, N.J. — the same place that handled arrangements for her father in 2003. The home isn’t far from the New Hope Baptist Church, where Houston began her lifetime of singing in the church’s choir.
Houston’s father, John Houston, was laid to rest in a cemetery in Westfield, N.J. Some have speculated that she will be buried alongside him.
Houston’s reps did not immediately respond to ABC News’ requests for comment.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Sara Ganim and Eric Levenson, CNN
Jon Ostrower and Rene Marsh, CNN
Dakin Andone, CNN
Mike Price, EastIdahoNews.com