Latin America & Caribbean

Mexico bids farewell to music legend Juan Gabriel

Fans take pictures of hearse carrying ashes of late Mexican singer Juan Gabriel as its arrives outside the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City, 5 September 2016 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Huge crowds waited for the hearse carrying Juan Gabriel's ashes

Fans have lined the streets of Mexico City to pay their last respects to legendary singer Juan Gabriel who died last week at the age of 66.

His ashes arrived from Ciudad Juarez, the border city where he grew up, and were taken to the capital's Palace of Fine Arts.

Ten of thousands are expected to visit the palace in the next few days.

A prolific singer and composer, Juan Gabriel combined Mexican genres such as mariachi, ranchero and norteno music.

Security was tight for the huge crowds that turned out on Monday, despite the rain, to see the singer's ashes carried through the streets in a hearse.

A musical tribute also took place at the palace for fans who made the journey to Mexico City.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Many fans carried pictures of their idol
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Security was tight for the cortege
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Thousands are expected to file past the urn at the Palace of Fine Arts

Juan Gabriel, whose real name was Alberto Aguilera Valadez but was known as Juanga, died of a heart attack in Santa Monica, California, days after performing to 17,000 fans at the Los Angeles Forum.

He sold tens of millions of records, received six Grammy nominations and had his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Fan Paty Berumen, 39, travelled from El Paso in Texas to say goodbye to her hero.

"I don't just like Juanga, I love him," she said outside the Palace of Fine Arts.

"That's why I came here. I didn't warn my family because they wouldn't have let me come. I've slept here, in the street, facing rain, heat and cold. But it's worth it."

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