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Dolores O'Riordan had a 'kind, loving and generous heart', mourners are told

The voice of Dolores O'Riordan filled a rural church in her hometown as Requiem 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 church to say goodbye to a singer renowned for her distinctive voice.

The 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.

In his homily, Canon Liam McNamara recalled meeting the young O'Riordan in 1989 when she was singing and playing the keyboard in the church.

"She did have a unique respect for everybody," he said. "Coupled with that respect, her kind, loving and generous heart made her a source of great hope to the Church, during its stormy years. For that we sincerely thank her from our hearts."

He said the funeral Mass was a difficult day not only for Ballybricken, but for the world.

"Now she is singing in the heavenly choir - hymns of petition for us," he said.

Canon McNamara said O'Riordan had been reunited with loved ones in Heaven.

"If tears are shed in Heaven - by necessity they are tears of joy," he said. "Yes, tears of joy, following an excellent performance by Dolores, in the most important and vital gig of all - the gig of life itself."

During Communion, O'Riordan's haunting version of the hymn Panis Angelicus was played in the church.

Archbishop of Cashel and Emly Kieran O'Reilly said: "Since we heard of the sudden death of Dolores O'Riordan, many hearts in Ireland and around the world are heavy with sadness on hearing the news.

"Indeed, the great outpouring of sympathy and love for Dolores which we have seen since her death is a witness and a tribute to her great musical talent and very special voice by her many fans and lovers of music.

"Dolores put her God-given talents at the service of others."

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.

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.

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