NEWARK, NJ.—Whitney Houston's journey "home" ends with a private burial in New Jersey on Sunday as questions persist about what caused the superstar's death.
A crowd gathered at the entrance to Fairview Cemetery in Westfield, south of Newark, where Houston's body arrived at Fairview Cemetery in Westfield late Sunday morning. She was laid to rest next to her father in the cemetery, located south of Newark.
The family-only burial is in contrast to the emotionally charged, star-studded memorial service held at New Hope Baptist Church, where Houston, nicknamed "Nippy," was soloing in the junior choir by age 11.
"Jesus Loves Me" was the last song Houston sang in public before her death on February 11 in Beverly Hills, California, at the age of 48.
So it was fitting that the mourners -- comforted and encouraged by the likes of Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys and R. Kelly -- heard the simple, but powerful, "Jesus Loves Me," this time performed by CeCe Winans.
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The mourners inside the church represented an amalgamation of Houston's life, from childhood friends to gospel singers, from music stars to movie stars.
"You literally felt like this was just a girl from New Jersey who had a few famous friends, and it was such a celebration of life," CNN producer Raelyn Johnson, who attended the funeral, said Sunday.
"It is the same church service that will go on in so many churches across the country this morning ... and it was celebration, it was singing, it was praise for three hours." Johnson said. "And it wasn't until the very end that you remembered that this was a funeral and a very sad day for a lot of people."
Kevin Costner, who cast Houston in her first role alongside him in "The Bodyguard," recalled how she questioned whether she was good enough, beautiful enough to be cast in the film.
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"It was the burden that made her great and the part that caused her to stumble in the end," he said.
For her closest friends inside the church, and strangers who continue to draw inspiration from her voice, Costner's words hit a painfully honest note about human frailty.
Years after "The Bodyguard" hit theaters, reports of Houston's struggles with drug addiction and a rocky marriage with Bobby Brown surfaced and her album sales declined.
"The inexplicable burden that comes with fame," Costner said. "Call it doubt. Call it fear. I've had mine. I know the famous in the room have had theirs."
Costner said Houston's own story could help a new generation of young girls who dream big.
"Maybe they're thinking they aren't good enough," he said. "I think Whitney would tell you: Guard your bodies. Guard the precious miracle of your life. Then sing your hearts out, knowing that there's a lady in heaven who's making God himself wonder how He created something so perfect."
One of the most emotional moments in the service came when Keys recalled how Houston helped her and others achieve success.