New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has ordered flags to be flown at half staff throughout the state during funeral Saturday in honor of late pop singer's death. The 48-year-old music icon's body was found in the bathtub of her Beverly Hills hotel room Saturday afternoon.
Gov. Christie said Houston was a "cultural icon" who belongs in the same category in New Jersey music history as legendary singers such as Frank Sinatra, Count Basie and rocker Bruce Springsteen. The governor called Houston's accomplishments in the music industry "a great source of pride for the people of the state."
Flags are typically flown at half staff in honor of police and military personnel killed in the line of duty. The honor is also extended following the deaths of legislators in the state. In the past, flags in New Jersey have also been lowered to pay tribute to other local music legends. In June, for example, flags were flown at half staff following the death of musician Clarence Clemons, a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street band.
The decision to lower all American flags in honor of Houston, who allegedly squandered much of her $100 million fortune on drug abuse and a lavish lifestyle - is being criticized by many people in the state. Fans of the late pop icon, however, feel that lowering flags is a fitting tribute to the music diva, a New Jersey native who inspired many people to pursue their dreams and overcome obstacles.
Houston's family has decided to hold private funeral services this Saturday. The late singer's body was flown in Tyler Pery's private jet from Los Angeles to Newark on Monday night. A hearse then transported Houston to the , where services for her father were held in 2003. It was initially thought that a public memorial service would take place at the Prudential Center in Newark. The family, however, has decided to hold private, invitation-only services at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, where Houston sang as a child.