Stars, fans mourn Houston at hometown service

Guests crowd in for funeral at singer's hometown church in New Jersey as Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder sing at service.

By REUTERS
February 19, 2012 03:24
2 minute read.
Fans wait for the hearse carrying Whitney Houston

Fans wait for the hearse carrying Whitney Houston. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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NEWARK, N.J. - Stars, family and friends mourned Whitney Houston in a spirited funeral service at her hometown church on Saturday, a week after the sudden death of the singer whose spectacular voice made her one of the biggest pop stars of her era.

A choir had guests swaying to gospel music in the crowded New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, where Houston first honed her wide vocal range as a young choir singer with her mother Cissy Houston, a backup singer for Aretha Franklin.

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"Whitney returns home today to the place where it all began," said actor Kevin Costner, who starred opposite Houston in the 1992 hit film, "The Bodyguard." He urged those around the world to "dry our tears, suspend our sorrow - and perhaps our anger - just long enough, just long enough to remember the sweet miracle of Whitney."

Houston, who died in a Beverly Hills hotel room last week, recorded stirring love songs and vibrant dance tunes during a 30-year career that peaked with her 1992 signature hit "I Will Always Love You" and paved the way for a generation of singers that followed her.

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