The National Enquirer sparks outrage with Whitney Houston open-casket photo

The hearse carrying the body of singer Whitney Houston leaves the Whigham Funeral Home on Feb. 18, 2012 in Newark, N.J., en route to a private funeral at the New Hope Baptist Church.
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(CBS) The National Enquirer is causing a stir after publishing a photo purported to be Whitney Houston in an open casket.

The cover image sits alongside the caption: "Whitney: The Last Photo! Inside Her Private Viewing."

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It's a bold move even for the Enquirer, especially considering the tight constraints Houston's family put on the media during the late singer's wake and funeral. Several media outlets have since re-posted the magazine shot online.

The photo was reportedly taken at the Whigham Funeral Home in New Jersey. It's unclear how the Enquirer obtained the still-unverified shot.

In the image, Houston is seen in a purple dress with a brooch pinned to her chest. According to the Enquirer headline, the singer was buried wearing $500,000 worth of jewelry with gold slippers on her feet.

Since its publication on Wednesday, the photo has ignited an outrage against the tabloid on Facebook and Twitter.

In response to the reaction, publisher Mary Beth Wright told, "I thought it was beautiful," referring to the photo.

Still, it's not the first time the Enquirer has shocked readers. In 1977, it published a picture of Elvis Presley in his casket. Three years later, the magazine followed suit after John Lennon's assassination.

Houston was laid to rest on Saturday in her hometown of Newark, N.J. -- a week after she was found dead in her hotel room at the Beverly Hilton. She was 48.

Tell us: Do you think the National Enquirer crossed the line?

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