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Thousands attend Lisa Lopes' funeral

LITHONIA, Ga., May 2 (UPI) -- Thousands of fans packed a suburban Atlanta church and the streets outside during Thursday's public funeral services for hip-hop star Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, killed in an auto accident last week in Honduras.

The services were attended by several celebrities including Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown.

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The New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga., which holds 10,000 people, was packed with a few thousand more waiting outside or watching a closed circuit television in a nearby building.

Inside, Lopes's mother, Wanda Lopes Coleman, read a poem to her daughter. She spoke emotionally during the two-hour service, calling her daughter's life short but rewarding.

"My daughter was truly blessed with the gift of giving," she said.

The service opened with "Hosanna," bringing the audience to its feet.

"It would be a mockery of her life if we didn't celebrate," said Bishop Eddie Long. "And so we come to celebrate with this family."

The group Mary Mary sang "Shackles," a favorite of Lopes.

The Grammy-winning recording artist with TLC was considered the wilder of the all-girl trio and in 1994 was charged with burning down the house of ex-boyfriend Andre Rison, a wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons at the time.

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Rison attended the wake Wednesday night, calling her an angel.

Lopes died of head injuries April 23 at the age of 30 when the sports utility vehicle she was driving went out of control on a Honduran road. Seven other people were injured, including a sister and a brother.

The surviving members of TLC, Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and Rozonda "Chili" Walters said they would continue as a duet.

She acquired her nickname by replacing one lens of her glasses with a condom during performances.

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