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Wednesday
Feb152012

NJ Flags to Be Flown at Half-Staff on Day of Whitney Houston's Funeral

Image credit: Patrick DemarchelierOn Saturday, the day the late Whitney Houston will be remembered at a funeral in her native New Jersey, flags will be flown at half-staff at the state's government buildings. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said Tuesday that Whitney deserves to be recognized because "her accomplishments in her life were a source of great pride for many people in this state." Christie also said Whitney belongs in the same class of New Jersey music icons as Frank Sinatra, Count Basie and Bruce Springsteen.

A spokesperson for the Houston family has confirmed that the funeral will be held at noon Saturday at New Hope Baptist Church, 106 Sussex Avenue in Newark, New Jersey. There are reports that Whitney’s mother, Cissy Houston, made it clear that her daughter's funeral would take place inside of a church, rather than a larger venue such as the Prudential Center or the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, as had been previously speculated. The funeral will be closed to the public and the media.

The Reverend Marvin Winans will deliver the eulogy. Winans, the brother of gospel singers BeBe and CeCe Winans, married Houston and Bobby Brown in 1992. Speaking in Detroit on Tuesday, he said he will address at the funeral "what she was to us as an individual friend, what she meant. If you scratched the surface, it didn't take you long to find out that she was still that little girl from New Jersey."

Whitney's cause of death has not yet been determined, but her former bodyguard, Alan Jacobs, recalls how she struggled with drug addiction during the time he worked for her. He tells ABC News, "Whatever was going on was not something that was in control and certainly was something that I felt needed to be addressed so I took action to address it. I eliminated access to her by certain people." He says he and Whitney parted ways a few months after he expressed his concerns to her.

An official with the Los Angeles County coroner's office tells ABC News it is "conducting an investigation and will try to obtain medical records from her doctors." It could take up to eight weeks before a cause of death is determined.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio