Whitney Houston

Cha Thorpe

The world lost a vocal legend on Feb. 11, 2012. Songstress Whitney Houston passed at the age of 48 to the shock of family, friends and fans.

Houston was discovered nonresponsive in her Beverly Hilton hotel room where she was pronounced dead at approximately 3:46 p.m. Pacific Eastern Time just one day before the 54th annual Grammys where she was to be a guest.

Funeral services were held for the superstar Feb.18 in Newark, New Jersey, the singer’s hometown, at New Hope Baptist Church where Houston first debuted her singing talent in front of the congregation at the tender age of 11.

There was an outpour of fans and onlookers outside of the church, but inside sat family, close friends and her peers among the music and entertainment industry. Among those in attendance were Mariah Carey, Tyler Perry, CeCe Winnas and Oprah Winfrey to name a few.

Singers Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder and R. Kelly were among those that performed during the four-hour long service as close friends and professional mentor Clive Davis spoke about her.

“You wait for a voice like that for a lifetime. You wait for a face like that, a smile like that, a presence like that for a lifetime,” he said.

Close friend and co-star of their 1992 blockbuster “The Bodyguard” Kevin Costner also shared words of comfort during the service and told of his and Houston’s work relationship and close friendship through the years.

The late singer’s ex-husband Bobby Brown was also in attendance for the service, consoling the daughter he shared with Houston during their 15-year marriage, Bobbi Kristina. Brown, however, departed from the service, but before he left he touched Houston’s casket.

At the closing of the service, Houston’s rendition of the song that transformed her into a musical phenomenon, “I Will Always Love You,” played as her mother led the casket out of the church along with her daughter.

Finally Houston’s body was laid to rest in a private burial service Feb. 19 in Westfield N.J.’s Fairview Cemetery. The singer was placed in her final resting place along side her late father John Houston.