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Celebrity funerals we’ll never forget – from Elvis Presley to Aretha Franklin

Due to their popularity in life it’s no wonder many had people lining the streets to pay their final respects – here we look at major funerals including those of Michael Jackson, Muhammad Ali and Amy Winehouse

Aretha Franklin’s funeral lasted a whopping eight hours

When a celebrity passes away, it’s almost as if we’ve lost a friend or relative, especially if we were a big fan.

Many people come together to pay their respects once a celebrity dies and everybody mourns together and reflects on the star’s career and achievements.

Some may shed a tear, some people might not even care, but it’s safe to say that celebrity funerals are always memorable – whether you’re a fan or not.

Let’s take a look back at some of the most memorable celebrity funerals that we will absolutely never forget about, because let’s be honest, some of them are pretty extravagant.

Elvis Presley

The scenes in Memphis on August 18, 1977



Even though the funeral was closed to the public, that didn’t stop 25,000 fans swarming to his Graceland mansion to pay their respects.

The funeral of Elvis Presley took place on August 18 1977, and was most definitely ‘fit for a king’, with thousands of fans in Memphis on the days following his death.

30,000 fans were let in for a public viewing of the casket and 80,000 people came to watch the funeral procession, lining the streets with handmade signs expressing their sadness and mourning.

John Lennon

Some of the estimated 50,000 people at a silent vigil in Central Park



The shock assassination of John Lennon rocked fans, as news spread, vigils took place in cities around the world to pay respect to the singer.

Around 30,000 fans flocked to his hometown of Liverpool and 50,000 headed to Central Park to mourn.

Lennon was cremated shortly after his death, but perhaps the most poignant moment was when fans around the world had a 10-minute long silent vigil on December 14, 1980.

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson’s 14-karat gold coffin with blue velvet was pretty memorable

A public memorial service was held for the King of Pop on July 7 2009 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, twelve days after his death.

Michael Jackson’s closed, solid-bronze casket plated with 14-karat gold and lined with blue velvet was placed in front of the stage.

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The service began with Smokey Robinson, who read messages of condolences from Diana Ross and former South African president Nelson Mandela.

Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder, John Mayer and Kobe Bryant were just some of the names who contributed to the service – now that’s a guest list.

Hunter. S. Thompson

American author and journalist Hunter S. Thompson with Johnny Depp in New York City, 1997


Rose Hartman/Getty Images)

American journalist and author Hunter. S. Thompson truly went out with a bang, thanks to Johnny Depp, who was rumoured to have spent $3 million on firing Thompson’s ashes from a cannon.

Big names like Jack Nicholson, John Cusack, Bill Murray and Sean Penn attended the funeral, where Thompson’s ashes were fired from a cannon on a 153 foot tower shaped like a double-thumbed fist clutching a peyote button.

If that doesn’t highlight Hunter S Thompson’s unique personality, we’re not sure what will.

Muhammad Ali

A mourner drops a rose on the hearse


2016 MCT)

Although Ali was buried in a private ceremony attended by friends and family, thousands still said goodbye as his coffin passed the streets of his home city of Louisville, Kentucky

His service was attended by dignitaries and thousands who had acquired free tickets at the KFC Yum! Centre.

Former US president Bill Clinton said a few words, along with comedian Billy Crystal and Valerie Jarett, an aide to President Obama.

Onlookers on the roadside waved and chanted his name as the coffin passed them, and fans threw flowers at the hearse with rose petals scattered along the route.

Aretha Franklin

A mural depicting Aretha Franklin on the wall of a building near the New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit


2018 Getty Images)

On 31 August 2018, there was an epic eight-hour service for the death of Aretha Franklin, now that’s pretty impressive.

Fans queued up overnight in hope to get a spot at the service, which took place at the Greater Grace Temple. For those who didn’t make it, the service was shown on a big screen in a petrol station forecourt.

Stevie Wonder, Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson were just some of the artists that performed at this incredible funeral, which seemed more like a celebration than a time of sadness.

Amy Winehouse

Kelly Osbourne and Mark Ronson were just some of the famous faces that attended Amy Winehouse’s intimate funeral at London’s Edgwarebury Cemetery.

Rabbi Frank Hellner officiated the Jewish service where her family and friends sung her favourite song Carole King’s “So Far Away.”

Winehouse’s body was then taken to Golders Green Crematorium, where her grandmother was cremated.

Flowers, candles and cards at Amy Winehouse’s home in Camden Square on the day of her funeral


Getty Images)

Although all very different, these celebrity funerals will be remembered, that’s for sure.

Speaking about the events, Sarah Jones of Full Circle Funerals said: “High profile funerals are a great way for people to see that there are many funeral choices and ways to personalise a funeral.

“More public funerals also give people the opportunity to engage in the funeral ritual in their own way – which might be very important for people who felt a connection to the person who has died.”

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