- Hearse drives body to Newark funeral home amid reports that family is planning ceremony with 18,000 seats for later this week
- Police confirmed her body was found under water but are not ruling drowning as cause of death
- Music industry friend says the singer's death was 'not a great surprise'
- Hotel 'did not allow coroner to remove body until after pre-Grammys party'
- Pictures emerge of singer's last meal in hotel room, including hamburger, fries, jalapenos, beer and champagne
- Daughter Bobbi Kristina recovering from emotional breakdown, says father Bobby Brown
- 'Secret son' Nick Gordon speaks out to pay respects to the singer
By Rachel Quigley and Lydia Warren
Last updated at 7:44 AM on 14th February 2012
Whitney Houston's body arrived back in her home neighbourhood in New Jersey on Monday night amid reports that her doctors will face questions over how she obtained drugs found in her hotel room.
The late singer's body was flown from Los Angeles in a private jet and transported to Newark's Whigham Funeral Home, which handled the 2003 funeral of her father.
Houston's family is said to be considering holding the funeral at Newark's Prudential Center, which hosts college and professional sporting events and seats a staggering 18,000 people.
Coming home: The body of Whitney Houston arrives at Whigham Funeral Home, in Newark, New Jersey
Remembered: A man sings a Whitney Houston song as fans light candles and gather outside the Whigham Funeral Home, in Newark, New Jersey as the singer's hearse arrives
Houston's return home comes as her doctors reportedly face questions over whether she obtained the drugs found in her Beverly Hill Hilton Hotel room illegally.
The body of the singer, 48, was found in a bathtub at her suite on Saturday, surrounded by different bottles of prescription pills including ibuprofen - a painkiller, Xanax - an anti-anxiety drug, Midol - for menstrual cramps, amoxicillin - for bacterial infections and several others.
County coroners will request copies of the late singer's medical records and will compare them with prescription bottles found in the hotel room, a source told the British newspaper, The Sun.
If anyone gave Houston the drugs illegally, they could be charged. '[Authorities] need to determine that no one is criminally negligent. There still could be charges in this case,' the source said.
Struggle: Whitney's mother Cissy Houston arrives as the body arrives in New Jersey
Coroners have still not ruled a cause of death but there are fears she may have died - perhaps from a mixture of drugs - before she became submerged in the bath where her body was found.
And now friends have spoken out to say the singer's premature death was 'not a great surprise' due to her 'downward spiral' which was helped along by others.
'As sad as this sounds, it's not a great surprise and yet, it's unbelievable,' a music source told People magazine.
'There are demons she fought privately and publicly for many years... She's been on a downward spiral for a long time and when you have those people around you that enable the behavior ... she couldn't shake those demons.'
It has also emerged that the Beverly Hilton Hotel management asked the coroner to leave Houston's body in her hotel room until after the Clive Davis' pre-Grammy party finished, according to RadarOnline.
A source told the website the decision was made 'out of respect for Whitney Houston' and amid security concerns.
'It would be insensitive for the van to be driven out with her body as limos were pulling away with the A-list guests,' the source said.
The body was eventually removed after midnight, when officers had finished their on-scene work.
Speculation continues about the cause of the singer's death, with many pointing fingers at the bottles of drugs found in her hotel room.
A dark and tragic end: The body of Whitney Houston is wheeled out of the suite of the hotel in Los Angeles where she 'drowned in the bath' following two apparent evenings of out-of-control binges
Journey home: Tyler Perry's private jet is transporting Whitney Houston's body from California to Newark, New Jersey, where she will be laid to rest this weekend
TMZ reported that some of the prescriptions were filled out at the infamous Mickey Fine pharmacy, which was raided in 2009 by the DEA for evidence of 'improper dispensing of controlled substances', in connection with the death of Michael Jackson. These reports have yet to be confirmed.
The last days of a star: Whitney Houston sweats profusely and appears disheveled as she leaves the Tru Hollywood nightclub on Thursday night
One of the drugs Jackson was said to have received from there was the highly addictive Demerol - one of the drugs which was alleged to have contributed to his death - and that agents believe the Beverly Hill's pharmacy may have refilled prescriptions without a doctor's authorisation.
Mickey Fine's is thought to have been the go-to pharmacy for both singers who are believed to have spent thousands of dollars there.
Some of the prescriptions found in the crack cocaine user's hotel room were reportedly issued in 2011, but some were believed to have been more recent.
The amoxicillin was recently prescribed to Houston for a sore throat, sources told TMZ.
A coroner ruled today that it was impossible to ascertain the exact cause of the singer's death but ruled out foul play.
Her family was allegedly told by Los Angeles County Coroner officials there was not enough water in her lungs to conclude she had drowned in her luxury hotel bathtub and in fact died before her head went under water, said gossip website TMZ.
Many sources say her death was a result of drugs but are not ruling out natural causes.
Los Angeles assistant chief coroner Ed Winter refused to go into details and said toxicology reports will not be available for several weeks, making it impossible to pinpoint the exact cause of death.
Last meal: Pictures of Houston's hotel room, left, reveal the singer ordered a hamburger, fries and turkey sandwich before she died. It appears as if she drank Heineken and champagne shortly before her death
He confirmed to ABC that officials found prescription bottles, but said there wasn't anything 'alarming' or 'out of the ordinary' about them.
Though there were reports she had drowned, or overdosed, he said they won't make a final determination until 'all the tests are in'.
He said: 'No matter what medications they're taking, until we run a (toxicology test) and see the level and what's in the system, we're not going to speculate.'
Law enforcement sources said it is possible the singer suffered a heart attack as a result of the cocktail of drugs she had taken.
While questions remain about what happened prior to her death, photographs shed some light on the singer's last minutes.
Paying their respects: Paul McCartney and his wife Nancy Shevell visited the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Monday. They laid down a bunch of yellow roses (right) alongside other flowers, gifts and cards from fans
Mourning: Whitney Houston's cousin Dionne Warwick has been seen for the first time since Houston's death
Sadness: It is believed Warwick, pictured on Monday, was heading to the funeral home where Houston's body has been transported. She was reportedly one of the last people to speak to Houston before her death
Tragic pictures released of the hotel room in which Whitney Houston died show remnants of her final meal - a hamburger, fries and a turkey sandwich - which she is said to have eaten in the bathroom right before she died.
The pictures also show the star was drinking champagne and beer shortly before her death.
Burial spot?: Whitney Houston may be laid to rest next to her father at Westfield cemetery in New Jersey, close to where her funeral is taking place
A tray, said to contain a turkey sandwich and jalapenos, is photographed on the floor of the bathroom. A Gilette razor, glass of water and items of clothing are also strewn on the floor.
Family sources told TMZ Whitney ate the burger and fries in the hotel suite before taking the turkey sandwich and jalapeños into the bathroom where she planned on eating them after her bath.
It took nearly three months for the coroner to officially rule on Michael Jackson's death which was eventually determined to be from 'acute propofol intoxication' and two other drugs.
Whitney Houston's body was released to her family on Monday.
Her funeral will be held in Newark, New Jersey, later this week, it is believed.
Sources told the Associated Press that her body landed there on Monday night. They said the family had suggested there could be a wake on Thursday and a funeral on Friday for the star.
Houston was born in Newark and raised in East Orange. She got her start as a singer in the choir at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark.
She may be buried alongside her father, army serviceman and entertainment executive John Houston, who died in 2003 and was laid to rest at Fairview Cemetery, Westfield, New Jersey.
Mourners have been flocking to the church since her death, with local Shawn Cooper saying yesterday: 'The Houston family means a lot to this community, they have done a lot for this community, and being there for them is the best thing we can do as a community today.'
Houston's 'secret son' has also broken his silence to pay his respects. RadarOnline.com reported that the singer took in 22-year-old Nicholas Gordon, known as Nick, when he was young.
Trying times: Record producer and Houston's close friend Clive Davis arrives for a flight at LAX airport, CA
Nick, who lives in Georgia, wrote on Twitter: 'Rest in peace.' He later added: 'She has always had the most loyal fans and will continue to. Thank you. The Legend will always and forever live on.'
President Obama on Monday also said his thoughts and prayers were with Whitney Houston's family, especially her daughter.
Press secretary Jay Carney spoke on behalf of the White House, saying the president said it was hard not to be an admirer of the singer's 'immense talent'.
He added that it is a tragedy to lose somebody so talented at such a young age.
The Queen of Pop was found dead hours before she was due to attend a pre-Grammy awards party thrown by long-time friend and mentor Clive Davis.
Many media outlets and friends of the star have drawn comparisons between the deaths of Houston and Michael Jackson.
His brother Jermaine cited similarities when speaking to CNN about Houston's death.
He said: 'They shared a lot of success in the late eighties and they were great friends. I'm happy and honoured to have been a part of their lives.'
King and Queen of Pop: Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston, who were friends in life, died under similar circumstances and were thought to have used the same Beverly Hills pharmacy
Drugstore: Mickey Fine Pharmacy in Beverly Hills is alleged to have been the go-to pharmacy for both Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston and bottles of pills found in Houston's hotel room were said to be from there
He revealed he was was first introduced to Houston years ago by Clive Davis at the same Beverly Hills Hilton where the singer died.
The rest of the Jackson family were said to be 'saddened' by the passing of the singer.
In a statement released to X17online.com, they said: 'We honour and celebrate the life of one of the world's most gifted vocalists and talented entertainers, Whitney Houston.
'Although we are all saddened by her sudden passing and will miss her, we respectfully ask everyone to please consider her family at this time of difficulty by granting them the patience and comfort they need to mourn their loss in peace.'
Meanwhile her brother-in-law Billy Watson insisted that the star would never have taken her own life. He told ABC: 'Oh, no, this is accidental. She wouldn't have left her daughter like that. She wouldn't have done that to her daughter.'
Watson, whose sister is married to Houston's brother, Gary, also confirmed the family were taking her body to New Jersey from California today.
Emergency: Bobbi Kristina Brown (centre) was rushed to hospital the day after her superstar mother was found dead with reports saying she was having a complete meltdown in the wake of her mother's passing
Too upset: Bobby Brown, Whitney Houston's ex-husband (left) was in Nashville for a concert with his band New Edition just hours after her death but had to walk off stage mid-song. Right, Brown as he landed at LAX airport last night as he went to comfort devastated daughter Bobbi-Kristina
Whitney's mother, gospel singer Cissy Houston, issued the following statement: 'We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Whitney. This is an unimaginable tragedy and we will miss her terribly. We appreciate the outpouring of love and support from her fans and friends.'
Since her mother's death, Bobbi Kristina was rushed to hospital twice and relatives now fear she has become suicidal, it was reported.
She was pictured being taken out of the Beverly Hilton - the same hotel where her mother had died just hours earlier- on a stretcher at 10.30am yesterday and being rushed to Cedars-Sinai where she was treated for extreme anxiety.
She was released several hours later, but friends and family are still very concerned about her mental state.
The teenager was first admitted after allegedly passing out, after drinking alcohol and then taking a sedative pill given to her by one of her mother's entourage to calm her down, upon learning of the devastating news.
Her father Bobbi Brown cut short his reunion tour with New Edition to fly to Los Angeles to be by the 18-year-old's side.
Dearly missed: Whitney Houston and boyfriend Ray J out clubbing in 2006 (left) and with her daughter Bobbi Kristina (right) at mentor Clive Davis's pre-Grammy party last year
He said in a statement that his daughter was on the mend with the help of those closest to her.
'My daughter did visit with doctors at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She has been released and is presently with my family including her siblings.
'Obviously the death of her mother is affecting her. However we will get through this tragedy as a family,' he said.
'Bad influences took over her dreams': Singer Celine Dion said she blames drugs and showbusiness for the 'amazing inspiration's' death
Bobbi Kristina was pictured being taken out of the Beverly Hilton - the same hotel where her mother had died just hours earlier- on a stretcher at 10.30am yesterday and being rushed to Cedars-Sinai where she was treated for extreme anxiety and an emotional breakdown.
She was released several hours later, but friends and family are still very concerned about her mental state.
On Thursday, Whitney Houston was said to have gone on a 'wild binge' where she clashed with security guards. The next evening she 'partied heavily, drank and chatted loudly' with friends at the hotel bar.
Paramedics battled to revive the singer but she was pronounced dead at 3.55pm, hours before she had been due to perform at a pre-Grammys party at the same hotel.
At first it was thought that singer and reality TV star Ray-J, her on/off boyfriend who at 17 years younger dated her between 2007 and 2009 and was believed to have rekindled the romance, found the star.
But the brother of pop star Brandy, who made a sex tape with Kim Kardashian in 2003, later released a statement saying he 'was nowhere near the scene but no less distraught'. He added that he had received 'missed calls' from his ex, and said: 'We all gotta live with that.'
Speaking to Good Morning America about Houston's death, Canadian songstress Celine Dion, 43, said she blames 'drugs and showbusiness'.
In mourning: Ray-J, on-off boyfriend of Whitney Houston, stopped by a pre-Grammy party to meet his sister, the singer Brandy, hours after learning the news
Calling the late icon an 'amazing inspiration' she said: 'It's just really unfortunate that drugs, bad people, bad influences took over her dreams, her motherhood.
'When you think about Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Amy Winehouse, Michael Jackson... To get into drugs like that for whatever reason--because of stress, bad influence, whatever.
'What happens when you have everything? Love, support, motherhood…Something happens that I don't understand. That's why I'm scared of show business, of drugs and hanging out. That's why I don't go to parties!'
Houston's ex-husband Bobby Brown, with whom she had a notoriously turbulent 14-year relationship riddled with drug use, was in Nashville at the time of her death and his daughter's trips to the hospital.
Brown - whom she blamed partly for her drug issues - was said to be 'in and out of crying fits' upon hearing the news - but still appeared on stage on Saturday with his band New Edition, and cried out 'I love you, Whitney!' in the middle of the concert.
A coroner's van leaves the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, California, this morning where Whitney Houston was found dead. She is said to have 'drowned in the bathtub'
Alone: It has been claimed that Whitney Houston was found under the water in her bathtub, similar to this one at the Beverly Hills Hilton in LA, right, and left, the corridor leading to her room
Singer Johnny Gill, one of Brown's New Edition bandmates on tour in Memphis with the star, said: 'Bobby is struggling and he's devastated.'
Brown then cancelled a concert in order to be by Bobbi Kirstina's side and was pictured last night arriving at LAX Airport.
He said: 'I am deeply saddened at the passing of my ex-wife, Whitney Houston. At this time, we ask for privacy, especially for my daughter, Bobbi-Kristina. I appreciate all of the condolences that have been directed towards my family and I at this most difficult time.'
Houston's family also released a statement yesterday expressing their grief: 'We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Whitney. This is an unimaginable tragedy and we will miss her terribly. We appreciate the outpouring of love and support from her fans and friends.'
Paying respects: Reverend Jesse Jackson arrived at The New Hope Baptist Church where Whitney Houston sang in the choir and is expected to be buried in Newark, New Jersey
Family: Houston, centre, poses with her former husband, singer Bobby Brown, right, and their daughter Bobbi, left, at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, in August 2004
SALES OF HITS EXPECTED TO SOAR
Whitney Houston's music is expected to soar to the top of the charts after the shock news of her death last night, the Official Charts Company (OCC) said.
The firm said it was already expecting a sales surge to impact on the charts, with the singer's songs expected to take places in the Official Singles Chart and Official Albums Chart over the next week.
Although first verified sales reports will not be made until Tuesday morning, incorporating sales from Sunday and Monday, the OCC said it understood that sales are already surging.
A similar effect was seen after the deaths of Michael Jackson in June 2009 and Amy Winehouse in August 2011 as fans paid tribute by buying the artists' singles and albums.
In summer 2009, six Michael Jackson albums hit the Official Albums Chart Top 40, including a greatest hits at Number 1, while five singles hit the Official Singles Chart Top 40, a week after the singer's death.
Two years later, Amy Winehouse's albums took three places in the Official Top 10, along with five singles in the Official Top 40.
The OCC described Houston as a 'true legend' of the UK's Official Charts - her first UK hit Saving All My Love For You, became Official number 1 in 1985. She racked up four number one singles and 13 more top 10 singles, along with two number one albums and five more top 10 singles.
The star's biggest hit was a cover of Dolly's Parton's I Will Always Love You, which featured in The Bodyguard, which became the biggest-selling single of 1992 and the 10th biggest single of 1993, according to Official Charts data.
It held the Official Number 1 spot for 10 weeks.
Celebrities, from singers and rappers to television personalities and business leaders, took to Twitter to express their sadness at the news.
Stars praised the singer's unmatched talent and passed on their wishes to her bereaved family, while others expressed their shock at how the award-winning singer passed away at the age of just 48.
'Heartbroken and in tears over the shocking death of my friend, the incomparable Ms. Whitney Houston,' said Mariah Carey, who recorded the Oscar-winning song When You Believe with the late star in 1998.
'Shocked we've lost the immensely talented Whitney Houston!' wrote fellow singer Gloria Estefan.
Rihanna tweeted: 'No words! Just tears. I honestly can't think of anything else!!! Feels so strange being at the Grammy rehearsal right now!!'
Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb added his condolences, saying: 'In my estimation we have lost one of the greatest voices in popular music today...but as we always learn too late....we never cherish it until it's gone. My thoughts are with her family.'
A 'devastated' Mitch Winehouse, the father of late Amy Winehouse who died last year after a public battle with class A drugs, paid tribute on Twitter, writing: 'Amy, Etta, Whitney. Their music will NEVER die. What a great girl group in heaven. Mitch'.
Former Boyzone star Ronan Keating said the severity of the singer's problems had become apparent two years ago at the start of her comeback.
He told Sky: 'I'm devastated. I cannot believe it. It's hard to believe she's gone. Another legend, we've lost another singer, probably the greatest singer the world has ever seen.
'It's very sad to see the tough times in her life. I saw her two years ago when she was trying to make her comeback and I could see that she was weathered and you could see that she had been through tough time but you could see the voice was still there and she was trying.'
Asked if the music industry does enough to look after vulnerable performers, he said: 'It's about the people you surround yourself with. She really got involved in bad situations and the wrong crowd of people who led her down the wrong road.'
And music mogul Simon Cowell said that before her death he had approached her to ask if she would consider becoming a judge on the next season of the U.S. X-Factor.
He also paid tribute to Ms Houston and said the warning signs that she 'still had problems' came after the singer made an erratic appearance on the X Factor in 2009. The performance was to promote a new album after seven years off the scene.
He said: 'There are always moments in your life that are horrible to remember. The day John Lennon died, the day Elvis died. More recently Michael Jackson, last year Amy Winehouse and now Whitney.
'I know quite a few people who had been working with her over the years. We all knew Whitney had issues. I last met her when she came on the X Factor. You could see at the time there were still a few problems but she was a delight to work with on the day.'
Danni Minogue, left, Simon Cowell, Whitney Houston and Cheryl Cole, right, backstage on the X Factor. Whitney's performance raised concerns for her health with Cowell saying the warning signs were clear
The guest appearance on X Factor - her first UK TV appearance for 12 years - was billed as the start of her comeback but the worrying performance raised concerns for her well being and she suffered an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction when her dress straps snapped.
Miss Houston then embarked on her Nothing But Love World Tour tour in 2010, but the UK leg was beset by cancellations. She was forced to reschedule the first three dates in Manchester and Glasgow after picking up a respiratory infection. She finally played her first UK gig in 11 years at the Birmingham LG Arena.
The talent show judge told Sky: 'She probably wasn't all together but it was still Whitney Houston and you were in the presence of a legend and I will never forget that day.
'There are so few people like her in the world. They are a rarefied breed, these are true superstar legendary divas, but I say diva that in the nicest possible way. She had one of the best voices I heard in my life ever.'
And it was not just the music industry that felt the influence of Houston, with other celebrities expressing their condolences and thanks to the award-winning singer.
One high-profile figure to speak out was Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg, who said: 'R.I.P. Whitney Houston. Thank you for the amazing music you brought into the world.'
Whitney Houston's death cast a shadow over the music industry's most prestigious event - last night's Grammys.
Stars lined up to pay tribute to the singer, who had previously won six of the awards, with X-Factor judge Kelly Rowland saying on the red carpet: 'We lost our hero.
'I would not be standing here today if it was not for her. My prayers go out to her mother and her daughter. If we feel this loss, I can only imagine how heavy their loss is.'
VIDEO: Moving tributes to Whitney Houston at the Grammys
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