A hearse under heavy police escort arrived late on Monday at a funeral home officials said was handling the arrangements for late pop star Whitney Houston.
The hearse traveled from Teterboro Airport, where officials had told The Associated Press Houston’s body would arrive on Monday night on a flight from the Los Angeles area.
Several officials familiar with funeral planning said arrangements were being made by Newark’s Whigham Funeral Home, which handled the 2003 funeral of Houston’s father. They spoke to the AP on Monday on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak for Houston’s family.
Houston died Saturday at a hotel in Beverly Hills, California. She was 48. Officials say she was underwater and apparently unconscious when she was pulled from a bathtub.
Houston was born in Newark and was raised in nearby East Orange. A woman at the funeral home, where several police officers were stationed, said she could neither confirm nor deny reports that it would handle the arrangements. A white tent was set up leading into the funeral home’s rear entrance, and two opulent golden sarcophaguses stood at the front entrance. Dozens of Houston fans went to the funeral home, where they played her songs, sang, lit candles to remember her and hoped to get a glimpse of her casket. Houston’s family raised the possibility of holding a wake Thursday and a funeral Friday at Newark’s Prudential Center, which hosts college and professional sporting events and seats about 18,000 people. City officials were awaiting the family’s arrival to complete the funeral planning. A picture of Houston appeared Monday night on the electronic board outside the arena, one of the nation’s busiest entertainment venues, with a New Jersey Devils ice hockey game Friday night posing a logistical challenge to a planned funeral that day.