More than 1,000 mourners - including Sheryl Crow and Kris Kristofferson - say goodbye to the Man In Black...

Family and friends, including singers Sheryl Crow, EMMYLOU HARRIS, KID ROCK and KRIS KRISTOFFERSON, gathered near NASHVILLE yesterday (September 15) for the funeral of music legend JOHNNY CASH.

More than 1,000 mourners attended the private two-and-a-half-hour service at First Baptist Church of Hendersonville, about 15 miles north of country music’s capital. It was the same church where Johnny Cash mourned his wife and soulmate, the late June Carter Cash, who died in May.

Johnny Cash died last Friday (September 12) following complications caused by diabetes. He had been in ailing health for the last few years.

Kristofferson, who wrote the 1970 classic ‘Sunday Morning Coming Down’ for his friend, led the tributes.

“He represented the best of America; we’re not going to see his like again,” he said. He added that Johnny Cash was “Abraham Lincoln with a wild side”, a man always willing to champion the voiceless and downtrodden, “whose work in life has been an inspiration and salvation to so many people around the world”.

Johnny Cash‘s daughter Roseanne, a recognised country star in her own right said: “I can almost live in a world without Johnny Cash because he will always be with us. I cannot begin to imagine a world without Daddy.”

Emmylou Harris and Bob Dylan sang the gospel hymn ‘The Old Rugged Cross’ and Johnny Cash‘s ‘Every Grain of Sand’.

The Reverend Franklin Graham, son of Johnny Cash‘s friend, the televangelist Billy Graham, delivered the sermon, calling Johnny Cash “a good man who also struggled with many challenges in his life. He was a deeply religious man.”

Among the other celebrities attending were country singers Vince Gill, Hank Williams Jr, Travis Tritt, Dwight Yoakam and veteran hellraiser George Jones.

Former US Vice President Al Gore was also amongst the mourners.

Johnny Cash remained ‘The Man in Black’ right until the end. He was buried in a black coffin with silver handles.

A public memorial service is being planned.