Thousands mourn Jade Goody

Sat Apr 4, 2009 12:35pm EDT
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By Luke MacGregor

BUCKHURST HILL, England (Reuters) - Thousands of people turned out to bid farewell to reality TV star Jade Goody on Saturday, a fittingly public end for a woman whose life and death were pored over by the celebrity-obsessed media.

The one-time dental assistant, who died last month of cervical cancer aged 27, found fame and fortune as a contestant on the popular reality television show "Big Brother."

The mother of two's decision to battle cancer in the public gaze was also fiercely debated, although medics praised her for raising awareness of the risks of her disease.

Hundreds of people lined the streets of Bermondsey, south London, where Goody was raised and threw flowers and applauded as the hearse carrying her coffin passed by.

People in the crowd used phrases like "girl next door," "diamond" and "salt of the earth" to describe Goody.

About 2,000 more people gathered outside St. John's church in Buckhurst Hill, just north of London, to watch the funeral service relayed on a giant screen outside.

Inside the church, Max Clifford, Goody's publicist, paid tribute to the star.

He described her as "someone who wanted to be a star and someone by purely being herself became a star, someone who has achieved an awful lot in a short space of time, someone who today the whole world is watching."   Continued...

<p>Jack Tweed (R), husband of British reality television star Jade Goody, carries her coffin before the funeral at St John's Church Buckhurst Hill in north-east London April 4, 2009. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor</p>