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Oscar Niemeyer laid to rest amid prayers and song

BRAZIL NIEMEYER | 08 de diciembre de 2012

The remains of Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer en route to a cemetery in his native Rio de Janeiro. EFE

Rio de Janeiro, Dec 7 (EFE).- Acclaimed Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, who died this week just 10 days shy of his 105th birthday, was laid to rest Friday in his native Rio de Janeiro amid cheers, prayers and song.

Niemeyer was buried in Sao Joao Batista Cemetery in the Botafogo neighborhood after an ecumenical religious ceremony in his memory - though he was an avowed atheist - at Rio city hall.

The Banda de Ipanema, a Carnival orchestra sponsored by the architect, played "Carinhoso" (Affectionate) as the funeral cortege entered the cemetery.

As the casket was lowered into the grave, some of those present applauded while his family prayed and Niemeyer's Communist Party colleagues sang snatches of "The Internationale."

After the burial, the Banda de Ipanema played "Cidade Maravilhosa" (Wonderful City), the anthem of Rio de Janeiro.

Niemeyer died Wednesday at a Rio hospital, but his remains were flown to Brasilia to lie in state at the presidential palace before returning to his hometown for interment.

Despite his advanced age, Niemeyer, winner of Spain's prestigious Prince of Asturias Prize for the Arts in 1989, remained professionally active up until what turned out to be his final illness.

The architect, who a half century ago designed the main buildings of Brasilia, the nation's futuristic capital city, became known for the flowing curves of his reinforced concrete structures.

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