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New Jersey funeral planned for Whitney

Feb. 13, 2012 at 1:51 PM   |   Comments

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NEWARK, N.J., Feb. 13 (UPI) -- A funeral is being planned for songstress Whitney Houston in her hometown of Newark, N.J., later this week, sources close to her family told NBC New York.

Houston, 48, was found dead in her Los Angeles hotel room Saturday, the eve of the Grammy Awards ceremony, a music industry event she was slated to attend. Officials said they are awaiting the results of toxicology tests before determining the cause of her death.

NBC said Houston's body may be flown as early as Monday evening to New Jersey where the Whigham Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Houston, born in Newark and raised in East Orange, started her music career in the choir at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark. Known for her beauty and extraordinary voice, Houston's career was overshadowed in recent years as she battled addictions to drugs and alcohol.

Billy Watson, her brother-in-law, said Monday the singer's death was accidental and she had no intention of committing suicide, ABCNews.com reported.

"Oh, no, this is accidental," Watson said, reacting to speculation on the Internet that Houston's death may have been a suicide. "She wouldn't have left her daughter like that. She wouldn't have done that to her daughter."

Prescription drug bottles were found in Houston's hotel room, but Ed Winter, assistant chief coroner in Los Angeles, said there wasn't anything "alarming" or "out of the ordinary" about them.

"I have more prescriptions than what was found in her room," Winter said.

TMZ reported coroner's officials told family members that Houston likely died from a combination of the drug Xanax and other prescription medication mixed with alcohol.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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