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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 September, 2003, 11:01 GMT 12:01 UK
Friends bid farewell to legend Cash
Sheryl Crow (left) and Emmylou Harris
Singers Sheryl Crow (left) and Emmylou Harris joined mourners
Family and friends of American music legend Johnny Cash have attended his funeral near Nashville, Tennessee.

More than 1,000 people attended the private service at First Baptist Church of Hendersonville following his death at the age of 71 on Friday.

Cash, who became an icon of American country music from the 1950s with songs such as I Walk the Line and Ring of Fire, died after complications from diabetes, which resulted in respiratory failure.

Kris Kristofferson
Fellow country star Kris Kristofferson paid his respects
Leading the tributes at the funeral, Cash's daughter Rosanne said: "I can almost live in a world without Johnny Cash because he will always be with us. I cannot begin to imagine a world without Daddy."

Singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson, who wrote Cash's 1970 hit Sunday Morning Coming Down, said: "He represented the best of America; we're not going to see his like again."

He called Cash "Abraham Lincoln with a wild side", a man always willing to champion the voiceless and downtrodden, "whose work in life has been an inspiration and salvation to so many people around the world".

Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash
1956 - I Walk the Line, his first US chart single
1963 - Ring of Fire, written with wife June (above) and one of his best-loved songs
1968 - Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison, seen by many as his best album
1969 - A Boy Named Sue, got to number two and won a Grammy
1994 - American Recordings album helped him to a successful comeback
2003 - Hurt, a cover of a Nine Inch Nails track, will be remembered as his swansong

Among other celebrities attending were country singers Vince Gill, Hank Williams Junior, Travis Tritt, Dwight Yoakam, George Jones, Ricky Skaggs, Ronnie Dunn, the Statler Brothers and the Oak Ridge Boys.

Former Vice President Al Gore, a native of Tennessee, also attended the service.

Singers Emmylou Harris and Sheryl Crow sang the gospel hymn, The Old Rugged Cross and Bob Dylan's Every Grain of Sand.

A tribute also came from Coldplay's Chris Martin, who was not at the funeral but had been writing a song for the veteran.

"Johnny Cash crossed over generations to make him one of the few artists that both my dad and I will greatly miss," he told BBC News Online.

Cash was regarded as one of the most important figures in country music, with a career that spanned six decades.

He become as famous for his image as an outlaw figure, for playing in prisons and creating the myth of the Man in Black, his semi-official nickname.

In recent years, he also suffered from Shy-Drager, a condition similar to Parkinson's disease that attacks the nervous system and affects muscle control.

Johnny Cash's coffin is taken into the church
Musicians and friends paid tribute to Cash
The singer's wife, June Carter Cash, with whom he recorded many songs, died in May following complications from heart surgery.

During his career Cash won 11 Grammy Awards, most recently a Best Male Country Vocal Performance for Give My Love To Rose.

He finished touring in 1997, but continued recording albums.

And he found popularity with a new generation of fans with his series of American Recordings albums, on which he covered modern artists.

They included versions of Depeche Mode's Personal Jesus, U2's One, and Cave's The Mercy Seat, and were recorded across four albums.

This year, the video for his cover of Hurt by hard rock band Nine Inch Nails received critical acclaim and six nominations at the MTV Video Music Awards.

The BBC's Tory Milne reports
"More than 1000 people attended the service"


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