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Friday, 3 May, 2002, 07:13 GMT 08:13 UK
Thousands mourn 'Left Eye'
A crush of people try to get inside the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia
Thousands wanted to attend the funeral
Thousands of people have attended the funeral of R&B singer Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, of the group TLC.

A capacity crowd of about 10,000 people filled New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in the Atlanta suburb of Lithonia for the 30-year-old singer's funeral.

The singer, who sold 20 million albums with TLC and had solo success, died in a car crash in Honduras on 25 April.

The first fans began arriving five hours before the service.

Lisa Lopes
Lopes was working on new material when she died

"You get a lot of artists out there that try to go with the flow, but Lisa was not a follower. She was a leader," said Shannelle Lewis, 28, who was the first to arrive.

A host of music industry stars also attended, including singers Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson and Keith Sweat, producer Kenneth "Baby Face" Edmonds and Marion "Suge" Knight, founder of the Death Row Records music label, now called Tha Row Records.

Gospel group Mary Mary performed a tribute at the church.


Lopes' family paid tribute to the singer at the ceremony.

Her mother, Wanda Lopes Colemon, said her daughter's life was short but rewarding, and said she gave generously to her family.

"My daughter was truly blessed with the gift of giving," Ms Lopes Colemon said.

Lisa Lopes
Some Lopes fans were overcome with grief

The singer's brother, Ronald Lopes, said her life had its share of turmoil, but that the changes she underwent in the last few years made her a better person.

"She cleansed her body, her mind," Ronald Lopes said. "She had pure thoughts and that's what gives me peace about her passing."

Fans said the two-hour funeral was celebratory and uplifting.

"The messages given today show how in her passing, Lopes brought people together," said Gregory West, an aspiring hip-hop singer who attended the ceremony.


Lopes suffered severe head injuries and died when she lost control of the vehicle she was driving in Honduras.

Seven other people, including her brother and sister, were injured in the crash, which local police are blaming on high speed and poor road conditions.

Lopes coffin
The body was transported back to the US earlier in the week

She made headlines in 1994 after she was arrested for burning down the house of boyfriend, former Atlanta Falcons American football player, Andre Rison.

She had hits including No Scrubs, Waterfalls and Creep with TLC, and scored a UK number one with her duet with Spice Girl Melanie C, Never Be the Same Again.

The surviving members of TLC have said they will not replace Lopes, but will go ahead with the release of their fourth album as a duo.

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