Country stars mourned at funeral services for JUNE CARTER CASH yesterday (18MAY03) - close to the Nashville, Tennessee, home she shared with husband Johnny Cash during their celebrated careers.

The 73-year-old singing partner and co-writer of THE MAN IN BLACK's smash hit RING OF FIRE died on Thursday (15MAY03) at BAPTIST HOSPITAL in Nashville, after heart surgery to replace a defective valve.

The funeral at the FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH was open to the public before a closed service and interment at HENDERSONVILLE MEMORY GARDENS outside Nashville.

Johnny Cash, recently hospitalised for pneumonia, was brought down the church's aisle in a wheelchair. Nearly 2,000 people filled the church.

Interspersed with brief sermons from local ministers were songs by LARRY GATLIN and THE GATLIN BROTHERS, Emmylou Harris, THE OAK RIDGE BROTHERS, SHERYL CROW and LAURA CASH.

Among the guests were Hank Williams Jr, Kris Kristofferson, TOM T HALL and MERLE KILGORE.

19/05/2003 02:26