Family, friends gather as Houston laid to rest

New Jersey: Whitney Houston`s friends and loved ones gathered today to finally lay the singer to rest, a day after they gave her a tearful fairwell at a funeral ceremony in her hometown Newark.

Houston was buried at a cemetry in New Jersey, south of Newark next to her father, John Russell Houston.

The hearse carrying her body left the funeral home as her biggest hit `I Will Always Love You` played in the background as her mother Cissy Houston and daughter Bobbi Kristina wept uncontrollably.

According to reports further burial service plans were not made public. The burial came a day after some of the biggest names in entertainment joined her family to bid a tearful adieu the legendary pop singer, whose death still remains a mystery.

Gospel hymns and eulogies in remembrance of Houston, who died a week ago aged 48, filled the air during the four-hour service at the packed New Hope Baptist Church in Newark in New Jersey, where she once sang in the choir.

Houston`s signature single `I Will Always Love You` echoed through the church as a star-studded crowd bid a final farewell to the doomed diva.

Mourners including singer Jennifer Hudson and Houston`s mother, gospel singer Cissy swayed and clapped along as gospel singers BeBe Winans and the Rev Kim Burrell joined pop stars like Alicia Keys and Stevie Wonder in paying tributes.

Her 18-year-old daughter sat in the front row of the church, near the casket blanketed in white roses and purple lilies in front of the main podium. Other star attendees included Oprah Winfrey, Mariah Carey, Beyonce Knowles, Angela Bassett and Houston`s `The Bodyguard` co-star Kevin Costner.

The 48-year-old, whose once sparkling career was torn apart by drug abuse and personal problems, was found dead on February 12 at the Beverly Hilton, hours before her scheduled appearance at a pre-Grammys dinner.