MSNBC’s coverage of the Funeral and burial of Sonny Bono (January 9, 1998)

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Following a ski accident just four days ago when rock and roll legend Sonny Bono smashed into a tree at the Heavenly Ski Resort on South Lake Tahoe, MSNBC brings to you the sorrowful coverage of his last rites. This features the full funeral mass at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Palm Springs, including eulogies by Cher, California Governor Pete Wilson, House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and political mentor Bruce Herschensohn. Plus, the burial at Desert Memorial Park, additional statements, public opinion and reactions.


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Hundreds of mourners gathered in Palm Springs, California, on Friday to bid farewell to U-S lawmaker and entertainer, Sonny Bono.

Bono’s current family, along with ex-wife Cher, were joined by people from Hollywood, and representatives from Washington.

Bono died in a skiing accident on Monday.

A somber Cher arrived at Saint Theresa Catholic Church in Palm Springs, California, on Friday afternoon accompanied by daughter Chastity.

They joined hundreds of others from the entertainment and political arenas, to remember the life of Sonny Bono.

Cher, ex-wife of entertainer-turned-lawmaker Bono, cut short a trip to London to be at the funeral.

Bono’s life was cut short in a skiing accident last Monday, just as he was hitting his stride in a second-term as a U-S congressman.

A colour portrait of Bono placed near the altar of the church was an image that for many, represented what they will remember most about the man.

The jovial entertainer, rose to pop music and television stardom as songwriter and singer alongside former wife Cher.

After later becoming mayor of Palm Springs, he went on to be elected to Congress, representing the area.

Mourners who filled the funeral pews included U-S speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, former Vice President Dan Quayle.

As colleagues, they paid tribute to Bono as the outsider who came to Congress in 1994 as something of a joke, but came to earn the respect of fellow Republicans, and Democrats, as an able politician.

California Governor Pete Wilson and Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt — representing President Clinton — also attended.

As a choir sang “Amazing Grace,” a military honour guard carried Bono’s flag-draped, mahogany casket into the church.

The two-term congressman from Palm Springs died at the Heavenly Ski Resort in South Lake Tahoe, where he was on holiday with his wife, Mary, and their children – daughter, Chianna, 6, and son, Chesare, 9.

Bono was killed instantly when he plowed into a pine tree on an intermediate slope.

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