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Brazil bids farewell to Bossa nova legend Joao Gilberto

Fans from around the world honoured Bossa nova pioneer João Gilberto at his funeral in Rio de Janeiro.

A small string orchestra and choir performed one of Gilberto's most famous songs, "Chega de Saudade", as his body was displayed in an open casket at the entry of Rio's Municipal Theatre.

Dozens of friends and family joined in and sang along, including Gilberto's daughter Bebel Gilberto, also a singer, who smiled and cried while turning to hug and kiss her younger sister Luisa.

Earlier on Monday morning, his wife Maria do Ceu stood alongside the body as fans passed through to say their goodbyes. Gilberto's ex-wife Claudia Faissol was also present.

Huge funeral wreaths were lined up behind Gilberto's coffin with banners that read "To the master of masters, João Gilberto," and "All the love for our genius, João." One fan stood on the steps of the theatre holding up a homemade sign that read: "Go with God, João Gilberto."

Gilberto, a two-time Grammy winner, was also honoured at the final of the Copa America soccer tournament held in Rio de Janeiro.

Tens of thousands of fans stopped for a minute's silence for Gilberto before the game started on Sunday and pop star Anitta closed her opening performance by screaming: "Light to the master, João Gilberto!"

In a joint statement, the Recording Academy and the Latin Recording Academy said that Gilberto was "an architect of bossa nova music" and that his "innovative style and master musicianship helped turn the genre into a worldwide phenomenon."

The 88-year-old died of natural causes at his home in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday.

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