Standing-room crowd fills cathedral for Emilio Navaira rites

CORRECTS YEAR TO 2016 FILE - In this Sept. 3, 2003 file photo, Emilio Navaira arrives at the Latin Grammy Awards in Miami. The Grammy-winning Tejano star has died in New Braunfels, Texas. He was 53. Police in New Braunfels said in a statement Tuesday, May 17, 2016, that preliminary results indicate the entertainer died of natural causes. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, file)

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — An overflow crowd of mourners filled San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio to bid farewell to Grammy-winning Tejano star Emilio Navaira.

Navaira was pronounced dead after being found unresponsive at his New Braunfels home on May 16. He was 53.

Fans began arriving early at the downtown cathedral that seats only 500 worshippers, leaving many mourners standing in the aisles for the Monday afternoon funeral.

The Mass cam a day after thousands passed through Freeman Coliseum for the Sunday visitation and rosary. The casket was surrounded by bouquets and flanked by screens playing videos of past performances known to his fans simply as “Emilio.”

Navaira’s brother spoke of how Emilio learned to play on a guitar their father bought at a pawn shop. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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