Carolyn Whigham, the owner of the funeral home that handled Whitney Houston’s remains is said to be “devastated” that a photo showing the legendary singer’s body in an open casket was leaked to the National Enquirer.
It is believed the picture was taken inside the Whigham Funeral Home in Newark, New Jersey, where Whitney Houston’s family attended a private wake last Friday on the eve of her funeral.
Carolyn Whigham says neither she nor her staff is responsible.
“We did not take that photo. We did not sell the photo. We would never do something like that,” Carolyn Whigham told the New York Daily News.
Carolyn Whigham, who is a second-generation owner of the Whigham Funeral Home said she had a long-standing relationship with Whitney Houston.
“Whitney was a friend,” the business owner said.
“I’m the one who flew to Los Angeles and got Whitney from the coroner’s office. I did everything to protect her.”
Carolyn Whigham, the owner of the funeral home that handled Whitney Houston's remains is said to be “devastated” that a photo showing the legendary singer's body in an open casket was leaked to the National Enquirer
The image shows the singer’s body resting inside her partially open casket.
The National Enquirer has run the snap alongside a bold headline proclaiming: “Whitney: The last photo!”
When the picture of Whitney Houston in open casket hit newstands, Carolyn Whigham said she received a number of distressing emails from irate Houston fans and she now fears for her staff’s safety.
“One email said that if the person owned a dog, and the dog died, they would not come to my funeral home,” Carolyn Whigham said.
“I’m worried about my employees, worried about me. I’ve been in business since 1943. This is my name, my character. Honestly, this is my life’s work. We would never do something like this.”
Whitney Houston’s mother Cissy and daughter Bobbi Kristina are said to be outraged about the photo.
“Their heart broken all over again” sources close to the family told TMZ.
One source said: “The family could tell from the photo that it was taken from inside the funeral home, but they have no idea who would have snapped the pic.”
Whitney Houston, 48, died in a hotel suite in Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles on 11 February.
A spokesman for the Los Angeles county coroner said multiple bottles of prescription medication were recovered from Whitney Houston’s room, but the official cause of her death has not been revealed.
The shocking National Enquirer cover photo shows Whitney Houston wearing a deep purple dress, a sparkling brooch and diamond earrings.
Carolyn Whigham disputed the tabloid’s claim that Whitney Houston was buried with $500,000 worth of precious stones.
“That’s crazy. It’s not true,” Carolyn Whigham told The Daily News.
Dead body of North Korean “Dear Leader” Kim Jong-Il has been laid in state in a glass coffin as weeping mourners filled public squares across the country.
State television showed still images of the Kim Jong-Il body in the open coffin, surrounded by wreaths and covered with a red blanket.
Kim Jong-Un – his third son and successor – paid his respects to his father along with top military and Workers’ Party officials during a “solemn ceremony”.
North Korea declared an 11-day period of official mourning, with flags flown at half-mast at all military units, factories, businesses, farms and public buildings.
The streets of the capital Pyongyang were quiet, but crowds of people gathered at landmarks to mourn Kim Jong-Il who died suddenly on Saturday from a massive heart attack at the age of 69.
Kim Jong-Il ruled North Korea for 17 years in a brutal and repressive dictatorship.
Under his regime’s economic mismanagement, a terrible famine in the 1990s caused the death of millions from starvation and hardship.
The tyrant imprisoned thousands of political “opponents” and there is no access to freedom of the press, the internet or health care in the country.
North Korean state television showed still images of the Kim Jong-Il body in the open coffin, surrounded by wreaths and covered with a red blanket
The dictator’s body was lying in state in the Kumsusan Memorial Palace, a mausoleum where the embalmed body of his father – national founder Kim Il-Sung – has been on display in a glass sarcophagus since his death in 1994.
A state funeral will be held there on December 28.
Ri Ho-Il, a lecturer at the Korean Revolutionary History Museum, said: “Our General is our people’s benevolent father. He defended our people’s happiness, carrying on his forced march night and day.”
Since Kim Jong-Il’s death, state media have stepped up their lavish praise of his son Kim Jong-Un in an effort to strengthen a cult of personality around him similar to that of his father.
Although there have been no signs of unrest or discord in Pyongyang’s somber streets, the possibility of a power struggle in a country seeking nuclear weapons and known for its secrecy has heightened tensions in the region.
North Korean officials said they will not invite foreign delegations and will allow no entertainment during the mourning period.
The Korean Central News Agency described Kim Jong-Un as a “great person born of heaven”, a propaganda term only his father and grandfather Kim Il-Sung had enjoyed.
The Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the ruling Workers’ Party, described Kim Jon-Un as “the spiritual pillar and the lighthouse of hope” for the people.
It described him as “born of Mount Paektu” – one of Korea’s most cherished sites and Kim Jong-Il’s official birthplace.
Yesterday, North Korea’s military pledged to “uphold the leadership of comrade Kim Jong-Un” and called him a “great successor”.