A fan holds a picture of Whitney Huston during a candlelight vigil in memory of Whitney Houston in Leimert Park in Los Angeles, the United States, on Feb. 13, 2012. Pop icon Whitney Houston was found "underwater and apparently unconscious" in the bathtub of her hotel room at the Beverly Hilton on Feb. 11. (Xinhua/Zhao Hanrong)
NEWARK, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- U.S. pop superstar Whitney Houston' s funeral service was held on Saturday at her hometown's New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey, where her life journey started and where she sang with the choir as a child.
Family and friends, including some famous singers, movie stars, said goodbye to the pop icon. Among them are her cousin Dionne Warwick, music mogul Clive Davis, Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, R. Kelly, Tyler Perry, Kevin Costner, and the Reverend Jesse Jackson.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker opened the funeral service for Houston at the church by thanking hundreds of guests for attending the " home going" for the 48-year-old singer, who died on Feb. 11 in a hotel bathtub in California, just the day before the Grammy awards.
"We are here to mourn our loss but to celebrate her life," Booker said. "God is in heaven and with him is one of our angels. . .. We love you Whitney Houston."
Kevin Costner, who co-starred in hit movie "The Bodyguard" with Houston, recalled that as successful as she was, she would still think she was not good enough. "You weren't just good enough ... You were great," Costner said. "People didn't just like you, Whitney, they loved you."
He urged those who loved Houston and her music to "dry our tears, suspend our sorrow, and perhaps our anger, just long enough, just long enough to remember the sweet miracle of Whitney."
The service is not open to the public, but large groups of fans gathered around the area to pay their last respects to the pop superstar. Some came as far as Washington, D.C. and Miami.
"She is my idol," said Isabella Wheat, a New Jersey woman in her 40s. "I love her."
Houston will be buried alongside her father, John Houston Jr., in Westfield, New Jersey.