LOS ANGELES — Hundreds of friends and fans gathered Thursday at a memorial service to remember Rick James.
Stretch limousines pulled up to the auditorium at the Forest Lawn cemetery in Hollywood Hills, where a crowd of about 1,200 came to remember the “Super Freak” singer with musical performances.
Guests who arrived at the service included Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr., singer Chaka Kahn, Jermaine Jackson and others who worked with James or were fans of his work.
James died in his sleep last week at his home near Universal City. He was 56.
“On behalf of the James family, we would like to thank all of his fans. This is his moment of glory. He would’ve loved to have known he had this much support. We appreciate your prayers,” Ty James, the singer’s daughter, said Thursday.
Linda Truitt, a 47-year-old fan, attended the service and praised him and his work. “He was real — not like other entertainers,” Truitt said.
“He did what he wanted to do, how he wanted to do it, his way. Rick James forever,” she added.
James’ career peaked in 1981 with the Grammy-winning hit “Super Freak,” but the singer had enjoyed a bit of a revival recently, partly due to comedian Dave Chappelle portraying him as violent and arrogant on his “Chappelle’s Show.” James himself appeared on the Comedy Central show.
An autopsy has failed to determine the singer’s cause of death.
James, who suffered a stroke in 1998, was a diabetic and also had a pacemaker.
He also had a history of cocaine addiction that led to two assault convictions in the 1990s and a two-year stretch in prison.
Coroner’s officials said Thursday they were still awaiting results of a toxicology test, which they said could take several weeks.
James, who was born in Buffalo, N.Y., will be buried Saturday in his hometown following a funeral service.
He is survived by three children and two grandchildren.
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