Fans of Ray Charles were treated to their hero's "final performance" in Los Angeles yesterday (17JUN04), after the soul great's family agreed to put his body on show to the public.

Charles' devotees queued around Los Angeles Convention Center to get a last glimpse of the crooner as he lay in an open casket - a day before his star-studded funeral.

And, once the fans made their way into the room containing Charles at rest, they were treated to a wonderful sight - their hero's memorabilia.

The singer's jacket and a piano stood next to the casket, and on the piano was sheet music from two of his most popular tunes, GEORGIA ON MY MIND and WHAT'D I SAY.

Meanwhile, the singer himself looked at his best - his family had dressed him in his famous sunglasses, a tuxedo and a ruffled shirt for his last public show.

Longtime manager JOE ADAMS says, "It was a performance. His last, but a performance."

Charles will be buried later today (18JUN04) in Los Angeles. Stevie Wonder and Bb King are among the stars expected to show their respects and perform at the funeral.

18/06/2004 03:13