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Whitney Houston: Family members attend private viewing service

February 17, 2012 |  5:14 pm

Arrivals at Whitney Houston's private viewing

Whitney Houston's family gathered Friday evening in Newark, N.J., for a private viewing of the body of the singer, who died Saturday at the Beverly Hilton.

Mother Cissy Houston, daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown and Dionne Warwick were among those spotted arriving at the Whigham Funeral Home, according to TMZ, which also reported music mentor Clive Davis stopping by briefly and then leaving before the 5 p.m. EST viewing service was to begin. The service reportedly ran about two hours.

Back at Los Angeles International Airport earlier in the day, the likes of Kevin Costner, Ray J and Brandy were photographed on their way to flights headed back East. Costner, Houston's costar in "The Bodyguard," is expected to speak at the funeral, which starts at noon EDT Saturday at Newark's New Hope Baptist Church.

FULL COVERAGE: Whitney Houston, 1963-2012

Bobby Brown, Houston's ex-husband and Bobbi Kristina's father, was officially invited to attend, Houston's publicist confirmed to the Associated Press, despite earlier rumors that he was being shunned by the family. Brown has a concert with New Edition scheduled for Saturday night in Connecticut.

Also on tap for the funeral are musical performances from Houston's godmother Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, R. Kelly and gospel singer Donnie McClurkin, the New Jersey Star-Ledger reported. Additional invited guests whosed names are popping up in assorted media reports include Elton John, Bill Cosby, David Bowie, Beyonce and Jay-Z, Diddy, Berry Gordy, Tyler Perry, Oprah Winfrey and Denzel Washington.

Flags on state government buildings in New Jersey will fly at half-staff Saturday in honor of the singer, who was born in Newark and grew up in nearby East Orange.


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— Christie D'Zurilla
Christie D'Zurilla on Google+

Photo: Whitney Houston's family members are helped as they arrive at Whigham Funeral Home in Newark, N.J., on Friday for a private viewing service. Credit: Mel Evans / Associated Press.