NEW YORK (UPI) -- The body of Woody Guthrie, the singer who immortalized America's "simple folk," will be cremated and the ashes scattered over the sea.
Private funeral services were held today for the 55-year-old folk singer, who died Tuesday in Creedmore State Hospital. He had been hospitalized off and on for 17 years with a deteriorating nervous ailment, Huntington's chorea.
A family spokesman said Guthrie's ashes will be strewn over the ocean off Coney Island, where he once lived. A memorial tribute is planned by family and friends within the next two months.
Guthrie wrote more than 1,000 songs about the American countryside, 400 of which are in the Library of Congress. He recorded his first album, "Dust Bowl Ballads," in 1941, and made his last record shortly before he was first hospitalized in 1950.
His famous songs included "This Land is Your Land," "So Long, It's Been Good to Know You" and "Roll On, Columbia."
Guthrie was born on a farm near the dust bowl community of Okemah, Okla. When he was 16, he set out with his guitar to roam the country, traveling by freight trains and singing for pennies in saloons.
Folklorist Alan Lomax brought Guthrie to New York in 1940 to launch him on a recording career.