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Whitney Houston Funeral: Family, Friends to Say Goodbye to Houston

Whitney Houston funeral
Candles burn at a memorial at a memorial to Whitney Houston outside New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J., early Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012. Whitney Houston's funeral will take place later Saturday at the church where she sang in the choir as a girl. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Family and friends of Whitney Houston will say goodbye to the popular singer during a funeral at the New Jersey church where she first wowed the congregation with her booming voice that later made her a worldwide sensation.

The funeral at New Hope Baptist Church is set to take place at noon on Saturday, where dozens of A-list celebrities will be on hand, including music mogul Clive Davis, actor Kevin Costner, Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, R. Kelly and many others.

It’s been reported that Davis, Costner and Houston’s sister-in-law Patricia Houston will speak. Houston’s popular song “I Will Always Love You,” will close out the funeral.

Costner starred in the movie “Bodyguard” alongside Houston.

The funeral service, which is closed to the public but will be live streamed, comes one week after Houston died in her hotel room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, several hours before she was scheduled to perform at Clive Davis’ pre-Grammy Awards party. She was 48.

Houston was reportedly found underneath the water in a hotel bath tub. She was pronounced dead after EMT’s were unable to revive her. The cause of death has yet to be determined.

Authorities did say, however, that bottles of prescription were found in the hotel room, but they did not provide details.

Houston’s death shocked the country after the first reports started coming out Saturday evening.

For nearly two decades, Houston was one of the country’s best selling artists, and the legendary singer won six Grammy awards during her career. Singer Jennifer Hudson sang “I Will Always Love You” at the Grammy’s last Sunday in a moving tribute to Houston.

Houston was famous for her stunning voice, but her singing talents also allowed her to venture off to other areas in the entertainment industry, producing music and starring in several films, including “Bodyguard” and “Waiting to Exhale.”

The New Jersey-native went through personal struggles after her enormously successful career, battling drug addiction and displaying erratic behavior. Houston abused cocaine, marijuana and pills, which had a negative effect on her once perfect voice.

But to many of her fans, Houston will always be remembered as a soulful singer and a pop queen whose voice knew no bounds.

Bobby Brooks, a fan of Houston, told the Associated Press that he traveled to New Jersey for the funeral “just to celebrate her life, not just her death…just to sing and dance with the people that love her.”

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