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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 December 2006, 10:24 GMT
Public burial for soul star Brown
James Brown
Brown was sent to hospital after his dentist told him that he was very ill
A public funeral service for soul star James Brown, who died on Christmas Day, will be held this weekend in Georgia.

The 73-year-old "Godfather of Soul" will lie in state at New York's Apollo Theatre on Thursday.

The singer made his debut at the venue, and friend Al Sharpton said the queues outside were "his greatest thrill".

Meanwhile director Spike Lee is to make a film about the late US star, Variety reported, with Brown having approved the use of his music on the soundtrack.

I couldn't even begin to describe it, to walk around his house and he not be there
Reverend Al Sharpton

The project is being overseen by Brian Grazer, the Oscar-winning producer of A Beautiful Mind, with production likely to begin in 2008.

Two posthumous films about singers Ray Charles and Johnny Cash - Ray and Walk The Line - have reaped awards in recent years.


Brown's public funeral is due to take place on Saturday at 1300 local time (1800 GMT) in a 8,500-seat arena bearing his name in the city of Augusta.

A fan signs a poster of James Brown
Tributes from fans have been left on poster of Brown in New York
The ceremony is expected to draw a significant number of figures from the entertainment industry.

Reverend Sharpton, who will conduct the service, said he felt disbelief, sadness and pride after seeing Brown's body at a funeral home.

"I couldn't even begin to describe it, to walk around his house and he not be there," he said.

A separate, private service for family and friends will be held a day earlier, on Friday, at an unspecified location.

'Going away'

Brown died early on Monday from heart failure, less than 48 hours after being taken to hospital with pneumonia.

He also had diabetes and prostate cancer, which was in remission.

He was a difficult man to live with, but he was a great man
Tomi Rae Hynie
James Brown's partner

Shortly before he died, Brown had described how he was "going away tonight", his friend Charles Bobbit said.

"I didn't want to believe him," Mr Bobbit added, saying that a few minutes later, Brown sighed quietly, closed his eyes and died.

Meanwhille Brown's lawyer has claimed that the late star and his partner, Tomi Rae Hynie, never legally married, meaning that Ms Hynie was locked out of his home in South Carolina while "appropriate protocol was followed".

Ms Hynie, who is the mother of Brown's five-year-old son, found the gates to the singer's home padlocked and she was not allowed to enter.

Tomi Rae Hynie
Ms Hynie claimed Brown wanted her to live in his home with their child
"It's not a reflection on her as an individual," lawyer Buddy Dallas told the Associated Press.

Ms Hynie was already married at the time of her wedding to Brown, he added.

Even though she later annulled the earlier marriage, he claimed another ceremony was never arranged.

But Ms Hynie has argued that she had a legal right to live in the house and held documentation proving that the couple's marriage was legal.

"He was a difficult man to live with, but he was a great man," she said. "I was the only one who could handle James."

Tributes paid to soul star Brown
25 Dec 06 |  Entertainment
Obituary: James Brown
25 Dec 06 |  Entertainment
James Brown: Life in pictures
25 Dec 06 |  In Pictures
James Brown: Your memories
25 Dec 06 |  Have Your Say
'Massive impact' of Brown's music
25 Dec 06 |  Entertainment


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