Hundreds of admirers lined up early outside a large suburban Atlanta church today (May 2) to attend the funeral of TLC singer Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, who died in a car crash a week ago.

Hundreds of admirers lined up early outside a large suburban Atlanta church today (May 2) to attend the funeral of TLC singer Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, who died in a car crash a week ago. The funeral, open to the public, was to begin later today at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia. The church has 10,000 seats, and police estimated as many as 30,000 people would show up.

The gospel duo Mary Mary was to sing at the service, and a TLC publicist said other well-known artists were planning to perform. Lopes died April 25 as the sport utility vehicle she was driving rolled off a highway in Honduras. She would have turned 31 this month

"You get a lot of artists out there that try to go with the flow, but Lisa was not a follower. She was a leader," said 28-year-old Shannelle Lewis of Stone Mountain, who arrived five hours before the service and was first in line.

Phyllis Robinson of Atlanta, who arrived at 8:30 a.m. to wait in line, said she admired Lopes for bringing a message of unity to a turbulent world. "Her music just gave me a powerful edge as a female, and it was just very moving," the 41-year-old said. "She was just her own person."

Lopes was considered the most volatile member of the Grammy-winning group. She pleaded guilty to arson in a 1994 fire that destroyed the million-dollar mansion of former Atlanta Falcons receiver Andre Rison, her boyfriend at the time.

Rison was among hundreds who attended a private memorial service for Lopes last night in Decatur, another Atlanta suburb. "She was my heart," Rison told WSB-TV after leaving the service. "We're going to let her fly with wings like angels do. She's truly and definitely an angel."

In lieu of flowers, Lopes' family is encouraging fans to make a charitable donation to the Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes fund c/o the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, National Headquarters - Special Donations, 6350 North Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309-2130. Fans are asked to include the words "Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes Fund" on the memo line of all checks.


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