The body of singer Whitney Houston has been flown to her home state of New Jersey, ahead of an expected funeral service later this week.
A picture of Houston appeared on the electronic board outside the Prudential Center arena, one of the nation’s busiest entertainment venues, on Monday night.
Police said the the 48-year-old’s body was taken to Van Nuys airport in California for the flight to the east coast.
There weren’t a lot of prescription bottles. You probably have just as many prescription bottles in your medicine cabinet.
LA deputy coroner Ed Winter
About a dozen fans gathered outside the Whigham Funeral Home in Newark playing Houston’s songs, singing and lighting candles as her body arrived.
The singer’s relatives are also thought to be debating whether to have a smaller service at the New Hope Baptist Church, where family members have sung over the years.
Mourners have left flowers, balloons and candles outside the building.
Houston was found dead in a bath in her suite at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in LA on Saturday, hours before she was supposed to appear at a pre-Grammy Awards party.
She was under the water and apparently unconscious when found by members of her entourage, police said in a statement.
Fans awaited the arrival of Houston’s body at the funeral home
“Ms Houston was pulled from the tub by members of her staff and hotel security was promptly notified.”
The LA police commented after widespread speculation about how the star, who had a well-documented battle with drug and alcohol addiction, died.
TMZ reported Houston did not die from drowning but a suspected “combination of Xanax and other prescription drugs mixed with alcohol”.
It added that officials with the LA coroner’s office had told the singer’s family there was not enough water in her lungs “to lead to the conclusion that she drowned”.
LA deputy coroner Ed Winter confirmed there were bottles of prescription medicines in the singer’s room but would not give details.
“There weren’t a lot of prescription bottles. You probably have just as many prescription bottles in your medicine cabinet,” he said.
TMZ also claimed that some of the medicine bottles in the room appeared to be from the same pharmacy that was raided after Michael Jackson’s death.
This has not been confirmed.
The actual cause of death will be determined by the coroner’s office after final toxicology results are received.