The coffin with the mortal remains of the French singer Johnny Hallyday in San Bartolomé, Caribbean island where he will be buried, on December 10, 2017
The remains of Johnny Hallyday arrived Sunday at the Caribbean island of San Bartolomé, where the French singer who died this week was awaited by his fans, who organized a vigil to dismiss his idol, buried Monday in a private ceremony.
The singer, whose death caused a commotion in France, where he was revered as a music legend, asked to be buried on the island where he had one of his residences, to the disappointment of many French admirers who wanted a more accessible place of pilgrimage.
The remains of Hallyday, who died at the age of 74 due to lung cancer, left for San Bartolomé on a Boeing 757 with 62 passengers on board, including his wife Laeticia and their two children, who will lead the private funeral on Monday.
On the island hundreds of admirers, some of whom traveled from France, held a vigil dressed in white to await the arrival of the singer’s coffin.
One by one his admirers gathered behind the security barriers, around the floral offerings, which ranged from traditional crowns to arrangements in the shape of electric guitar or heart.
„I saw him often in my store, it was my heaven,“ an admirer wearing a T-shirt with a portrait of Hallyday told AFP. „Seeing your coffin hurt me a lot,“ the woman said in tears.
Floral tributes in guitar form for the French singer Johnny Hallyday
Jean Pierre and Chantal, both dressed in T-shirts reminiscent of the singer, traveled more than eight hours by plane from Paris to be at the tribute on the tropical island.
„We understand why he wanted to be buried here where he felt good with his family,“ Chantal told AFP. „Although it cost us dearly, we do not doubt.“
Fred Bouton, 54, said he wanted to be with the singer „to the end“.
– Much more than a singer –
Hallyday received a tribute similar to a state funeral on Saturday, with a farewell on the Champs Elysees in Paris that crystallized a popular upheaval not seen since the death of another singer, Edith Piaf.
Hallyday „was much more than a singer, it was life,“ French President Emmanuel Macron said during the tribute in Paris.
Inhabitants of San Bartolomé and fans arrived from France wait to pay a final tribute to the singer Johnny Hallyday, on December 10, 2017
On Saturday the singer’s funeral car toured the Avenue des Champs-Elysées, surrounded by hundreds of motorcyclists and was hailed by a tide of fans from all corners of France.
He was then honored at a religious ceremony in the majestic church of the Madeleine, with the presence of numerous French personalities, such as the presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande and the actors Jean Reno and Marion Cotillard.
Cotillard’s tears illustrated the sentiment in France, comparable to that which sparked the death of Edith Piaf in 1963.
The singer sold more than a hundred million copies of his 50 albums and a handful of his songs are part of popular culture, but his success never crossed the border of the language, since he was hardly known beyond the Francophone world.