Poignant Ave Maria duet fills church as Dolores O'Riordan's funeral begins
The voice of Dolores O’Riordan filled a rural church in her hometown in Ireland as a funeral mass for the Cranberries singer began.
A duet of Ave Maria sung by O’Riordan and Luciano Pavarotti marked the start of the service in the Church of Saint Ailbe in Ballybricken, Co Limerick.
The 46-year-old was found dead in a London hotel room last week.
Hundreds of people have gathered at the rural Co Limerick church to say goodbye to a singer renowned for her distinctive voice.
Cranberries enjoyed huge success in the 1990s with tracks including Zombie and Linger.
O’Riordan – who was also a member of alternative rock group DARK – had been working on a new studio album with The Cranberries in the months before her death.
Her boyfriend and fellow DARK band member Ole Koretsky was among mourners at the service.
Her ex-husband Don Burton and the couple’s three children – Taylor, Molly and Dakota – joined the singer’s mother Eileen, her sister Angela and brothers Terence, Brendan, Donal, Joseph and PJ in the small parish church.
Canon Liam McNamara said O’Riordan’s voice was worth its weight in gold.
“Her kind personality and beautiful singing voice earned for her numerous admirers,” he said.
“It must be added that the numbers she rescued from the darkness of depression are impossible to count.
“No words are adequate to describe Dolores or to accurately state the influence for good she has been over the years.”
The service will be followed by a private family burial.
On Monday night, tea light candles lit the streets as family and close friends accompanied the singer’s remains to the church from Cross’s Funeral Home in Ballyneety.
Irish President Michael D Higgins paid his sympathies to the singer’s family on Monday and signed a book of condolence.
“It was very important to pay tribute to the contribution Dolores made,” said Mr Higgins.
“It is so moving, so profoundly sad, that somebody so young is taken for us.
“She was a star that shone bright from the very beginning,” he added.
Cranberries fans from around the world tuned into a local Limerick radio station on Tuesday morning as it broadcast the service live.
Sales and streams of The Cranberries’ back catalogue have rocketed by 1,000% in the days since her death.
Greatest hits collection Stars: The Best Of 1992-2002 landed at number 16 on the albums chart this week, a higher position than its previous peak of number 20 when it was released in 2002.