Tributes paid to Whitney as funeral held

Some of the biggest names in showbusiness gathered on Saturday to pay tribute to Whitney Houston as her funeral took place in her home state of New Jersey.

Actor Kevin Costner and singing legends including Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Dionne Warwick were among those who attended the private service at New Hope Baptist Chapel in Newark, where Whitney – who died last weekend aged 48 – sang as a child.

Costner – who starred alongside Whitney in The Bodyguard – led the tributes at the ceremony, in a eulogy in which he called her “the greatest pop star in the world”.

Singers Alicia Keys and R Kelly also took part in the service, with Keys describing her as “a beautiful human being”.

However the singer’s former husband Bobby Brown walked out of the service, with reports suggesting he had been involved in a dispute over seating.

There had previously been speculation that Brown – father of Whitney’s daughter Bobbi Kristina – would not be invited to the funeral.

Although the funeral was a private service, the singer’s family allowed one camera into the service, with footage screened on Sky News as well as being streamed on the Internet.

Investigations are continuing into the cause of Whitney’s death, after she was found underwater in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton hotel last Saturday.