Whitney Houston Funeral: Dionne Warwick, Kevin Costner, Aretha Franklin Prepare To Say Goodbye

Whitney Houston Funeral

First Posted: 18/02/2012 10:23 Updated: 18/02/2012 10:32   PA

Family, friends and a host of celebrities are set to attend the funeral of singer Whitney Houston.

They will gather for a private service at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey, where Whitney sang as a child.

To the rest of the world, Whitney Houston was the pop queen with the perfect voice, the dazzling diva with regal beauty, a troubled superstar suffering from addiction and, finally, another victim of the dark side of fame.

But to her family and friends, she was just someone they loved who they nicknamed "Nippy". The church, which seats about 300 people, will be filled with friends, family members and some of her famous connections.

Kevin Costner, her co-star in the movie blockbuster The Bodyguard, is scheduled to speak, as is Clive Davis, the music mogul responsible for launching and guiding her career.

Her cousin and fellow singer Dionne Warwick will be on the programme, as will friends including Alicia Keys, Tyler Perry and gospel stars Donnie McClurklin, Kim Burrell and Cece Winans.

Ray J, who spent time with Whitney in her last days, will also be in attendance. In a statement released on Friday, he expressed his devastation over her loss and added: "Nippy, I miss you so much."

Aretha Franklin also remembered her as Nippy and recalled how Whitney used to refer to her as Aunt Ree. "Hard to believe," Franklin wrote in an email as she prepared to sing at the funeral for the girl she watched growing up.

Houston, 48, was found underwater in a bath by a member of her staff at the Beverly Hilton Hotel last Saturday.

After the funeral, the singer is scheduled to be buried beside her father, John Russell Houston, at Fairview Cemetery in Westfield, near where she grew up.

FOLLOW HUFFPOST UK ENTERTAINMENT

Filed by Caroline Frost  |