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June 09, 2012 12:00:00 AM
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A horse-drawn carriage took the coffin of Bee Gee Robin Gibb to a church in his home town of Thame in England on Friday for his funeral, through crowds lined up to pay their respects.

Gibb, singer with the legendary group and a key figure in the breakthrough of disco, died on May 20 aged 62, having lost his battle against cancer.

His private funeral service was taking place at St Mary's Church in picturesque Thame in Oxfordshire, central England.

The white, glass-sided hearse drawn by four black horses, covered with flowers and accompanied by a bagpiper, carried Gibb's coffin to the church from his home of 19 years through a crowd of hundreds of fans and locals.

Black-clad mourners including his wife Dwina and their son Robin-John, known as RJ, plus his daughter Melissa and son Spencer from his previous marriage, followed behind the cortege as church bells pealed.

Also among the mourners was his brother Barry, the sole surviving brother of the three who made up the Bee Gees, as well as lyricist Tim Rice and entertainer Uri Geller.

They were joined by his two beloved Irish wolfhounds, Ollie and Missy.

His son Robin-John has said that the Bee Gees' hit "I Started A Joke" will be played at the funeral, as will the track "Don't Cry Alone", from his Titanic Requiem, which premiered weeks before his death.

His family said it was Gibb's wish to "say a final goodbye to fans and his home town of Thame".

Uniformed cadets from 594 Thame Squadron of the Air Training Corps lined up outside the church in recognition of Gibb's campaign for a memorial to members of Royal Air Force Bomber Command who were killed in action.

Bomber Command was a key element of Britain's forces during World War II. The stone monument has been completed in Hyde Park in London but Gibb did not survive to see it unveiled.

Friday's funeral ceremony was a private service for close family and friends, but a memorial service will be held later this year.

Gibb is to be buried in Thame churchyard.

The Bee Gees -- brothers Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb -- helped turn disco into a global phenomenon in the 1970s with hits such as "How Deep Is Your Love", "Stayin' Alive", and "Night Fever".

Although originally from the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea they grew up in Manchester and Australia and were singing publicly from childhood.

Born on December 22, 1949, Robin was 17 when he sang lead vocals on the Bee Gees' first British number one, "Massachusetts", in 1967, before they switched styles to disco in the 1970s.

The trio's sharp songwriting and immaculate harmonies helped them notch up record sales of more than 200 million.


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