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Mourners turn out in their thousands for French rock ‘n’ roll star Johnny Hallyday’s funeral

   
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Thousands of mourners lined the streets of Paris on Saturday, 9 December to pay their respects to French singer Johnny Hallyday, who died this week of lung cancer. The 74-year-old rock star’s coffin was driven from the funeral home in Nanterre and down the Champs Elysees where is was flanked by around 700 leather-clad bikers. Such was Hallyday’s influence in France that the French president Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to the singer in a eulogy at the Madeleine Church, while film stars Marion Cotillard and Jean Reno also lined up to speak at the service. It was an emotional last journey for Hallyday as fans cheered and cried as his white coffin drove past. Laeticia, the Hallyday’s wife of 21 years, stood over the white coffin outside the church with their two young daughters, Jade and Joy. During the ceremony, the singer’s band alternated songs with the church choir. On Friday, the Eiffel Tower was lit up with the words ‘Merci Johnny’. Wife Laeticia confirmed the news of Johnny’s death in an emotional statement on 6 December, in which she paid tribute to his ‘courage and dignity’. ‘Johnny Hallyday has left us. I write these words without believing them,’ she said. ‘But yet, it’s true. My man is no longer with us. He left us tonight as he lived his whole life, with courage and dignity.’ Celine Dion was among those who took to social media to pay their respects as news of his death broke. ‘Your friendship, sweetness and support are imprinted in my heart,’ he wrote. ‘It is an honour to have known you and to have spent time with your beautiful family. Your soul is pure rock n’ roll. Repose en paix.’ Known as the French Elvis, Johnny Hallyday has been a prominent figure on the French rock ‘n’ roll scene since the 1960s. Born on June 15, 1943 in Paris as Jean-Philipe Smet, he took the stage name Johnny Hallyday from a family member, and with it brought French rock ‘n’ roll to the world stage. Read more:

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