Earl Scruggs' funeral, held on Sunday at the former home of the Grand Ole Opry, remembered the legendary banjo player as a "humble musician" and "the last original architect of the original bluegrass music."
About 2,300 of Scruggs' loved ones, friends, and fans packed into Ryman Auditorium in Nashville to pay tribute to the bluegrass pioneer in the same building where he recorded his final album, the Associated Press reported. Scruggs also honed his revolutionary three-finger banjo style on the Ryman stage in 1948, when he and guitarist and singer Lester Flatt joined Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys, CMT reported.
Scruggs died in Nashville on March 28 of natural causes. He was 88 years old.
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The two-hour funeral service, during which Scruggs' five-string Gibson Mastertone banjo rested in its stand on the stage, paid homage to Scruggs' influence with songs and included speeches by some of bluegrass's biggest stars.
The Del McCoury Band, a bluegrass duo who were heavily influenced by Scruggs' and his longtime partner Lester Flatt, started off the service with their song "Take Me in your Lifeboat," followed by performances by Skaggs and The Whites, Emmylou Harris, John Randall Stewart, Vince Gill, Jim Mills, and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's John McEuen, MSNBC reported.
"If not for Earl Scruggs, I might not have played music at all," said guitarist Del McCoury, the AP reported.
Scruggs and Flatt, who died in 1979, are best-known in popular culture for composing "The Ballad of Jed Clampett," the theme song for "The Beverly Hillbillies" television show, and for "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," popularized in the 1967 film "Bonnie and Clyde," MSNBC reported.
Grand Ole Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs gave the eulogy, and other speakers highlighted Scruggs' great humility, dignity, musical originality, and devotion to his wife and family, CMT reported.
The eulogy was followed by a performance of a Scruggs and Flatt song about death called "Who Will Sing For Me," according to the AP.
Earl Scruggs' longtime friends and collaborators Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, and Skaggs performed a heartfelt version of Gill's "Go Rest High on That Mountain," which he wrote about his brother's death. The ceremony concluded with a video montage of Scruggs' best moments.
Though the performances moved the audience, the longest ovation went to Scruggs, who was escorted from the auditorium in a silver-colored casket.