NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The casket of singer Whitney Houston arrived at Teterboro Airport late Monday night before being taken to a funeral home as family members apparently try to decided where to hold the pop icon’s funeral.
Sources close to Houston’s family told 1010 WINS on Monday they are hoping to hold the funeral at the Prudential Center in Newark this Friday.
Fans of Houston, like minister Thomas Ellis, said having the funeral at the arena with a capacity of 18,000 would be perfect.
Photos: Remembering Whitney Houston
Ellis attended the service Sunday at Houston’s childhood church, New Hope Baptist, and said although it would be special to have it there, the church isn’t big enough for all the people who would want to attend.
LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon Reports On A Possible Prudential Center Funeral
“There’s no church big enough so if the plans are to be at the Prudential Center, I say that’s awesome and I will truly be one person in there — I’ll be one of the 18,000,” he told 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon.
Further adding to the speculation was a picture of Houston that appeared on an electric billboard outside the arena on Monday night. It’s not clear if a New Jersey Devils game on Friday would have to be rescheduled.
Also Monday, the Los Angeles coroner’s assistant chief, Ed Winter, said that bottles of prescription drugs were found in Houston’s hotel room, but that they were not in large quantities.
“There weren’t a lot of prescription bottles. You probably have just as many prescription bottles in your medicine cabinet,” Winter said.
WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond reported that the family will likely have a wake for Houston on Thursday. On Monday, fans outside of the Whigham Funeral Home tried to make sense of the pop sensation’s death.
WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond Reports Outside The Whigham Funeral Home
“Now she don’t have to struggle no more, she don’t have to cry no more, no more pain, no more drug abuse. She gave it all to God now,” one woman told Diamond.
Investigators in Beverly Hills said Houston was found unconscious in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton at around 3:30 p.m. Saturday — the eve of the Grammy awards.
Speaking to reporters Monday afternoon, Beverly Hills Police Department Lt. Mark Rosen said, “We have not ruled anything out at this time — everything’s on the table.”
Noted pathologist, Dr. Cyril Wecht, said it is unlikely she drowned.
“I believe Whitney Houston was probably almost certainly dead and then she slipped under the water or she was in a deep stupor, semi-comatose state so that when she did slip under the water, the normal gag reflex would not have kicked in,” he told CBS 2′s Emily Smith.
At Sunday night’s Grammy Awards show there were several moving tributes to the music legend. Jennifer Hudson sang one of Houston’s most well-known songs “I Will Always Love You” and the night began with the star-studded audience bowing their heads in prayer.
Houston’s autopsy was completed Sunday. Toxicology tests are pending, and the results could take six to eight weeks.
The Grammy Award winner’s career started to fade after reports of drug use.
Houston made her last known public appearance Thursday at a pre-Grammy celebration.
Photos taken later that night showed Houston sweating, disheveled, agitated and bloated. One person told the Associated Press liquor and cigarettes could be smelled on her breath. She reportedly had blood dripping down her legs and scratches on her arms.
However, a close friend said the performer sounded happy in the hours before she was found dead.
“I don’t think she was trying to mask anything. She was in great spirits, she was singing and she had gospel music playing,” said gospel artists Kim Burrell.
Some say the pop sensation was poised for a comeback — she just wrapped filming of a new musical-drama due out this summer.
“She wasn’t one of these celebrities that grew up and forgot where she came from,” Michelle Richardson, a family friend, said.
Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below. …