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Funeral arrangements are set for Friday and Saturday for James Brown

Funeral arrangements are set for Friday and Saturday for James Brown

A public funeral service for "Godfather of Soul" James Brown at an 8,500-seat arena bearing his name in his hometown of Augusta, Georgia, has been set for Saturday, and members of the public will also be able to view him at the New York theater in which he made his debut.
Brown, who died Monday of heart failure in Atlanta at age 73, will be buried later Saturday in Augusta, Brown's agent, Frank Copsidas, told The Associated Press. Earlier that day, his body will lie in state at James Brown Arena in Augusta, where the 1 p.m. (1800 GMT) public service will be held, Copsidas said.
A private funeral service for Brown that will include family and friends will be held Friday, Copsidas said, though he declined to say where it would be held.
Fans will have a chance to have another look at Brown on Thursday in New York. His body will rest on stage at the Apollo Theater, the Harlem venue where he made his debut, said the Rev. Al Sharpton, a close friend of Brown for decades.
The public funeral service, which Sharpton will officiate, is expected to draw a who's who of entertainment figures and public officials.
Sharpton and some of Brown's relatives spent Tuesday afternoon at an Augusta funeral home, where they were expected to view the singer's body and finalize funeral arrangements.
"I looked at his body. I was walking in half disbelief and sadness but proud," he said. "I couldn't even begin to describe it, to walk around his house and he not be there."
"His greatest thrill was always the lines around the Apollo Theater," Sharpton said of the Harlem landmark. "I felt that James Brown in all the years we talked would have wanted one last opportunity to let the people say goodbye to him and he to the people."
Sharpton said he and Brown's children talked Tuesday about the moment after the Rev. Martin Luther King's assassination when Brown stepped to a microphone and told gathering crowds of angry people to go home.
"And they went home," Sharpton said. "For them to riot for a man who lived a life of peace would send the wrong message. He always said he was surprised and humbled that he had that influence."
Brown's daughter-in-law Diane Dean Rouse has said earlier she hoped the funeral would be open to the people of Augusta.
The singer died of heart failure less than two days after he had been hospitalized with pneumonia and only three days after leading his annual holiday toy giveaway in Augusta.
He also had diabetes and prostate cancer that was in remission.
Brown is survived by his partner, Tomi Rae Hynie, one of his backup singers, and at least four children _ his two daughters and sons Daryl and James Brown II, Copsidas said.
Brown was born in poverty in Barnwell, South Carolina, in 1933, and abandoned as a 4-year-old to the care of relatives and friends. He grew up in Augusta in an "ill-repute area," as he once called it, learning how to hustle to survive.
By the eighth grade in 1949, he had served 3 1/2 years in reform school for breaking into cars. While there, he met Bobby Byrd, whose family took Brown into their home. Byrd also took Brown into his group, the Gospel Starlighters. Soon they changed their name to the Famous Flames and their style to hard R&B.
Brown, who lived in Beech Island, South Carolina, near the Georgia line, won a Grammy for lifetime achievement in 1992, as well as Grammys in 1965 for "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" (best R&B recording) and for "Living in America" in 1987 (best R&B vocal performance, male.) He had a brief but memorable role as a manic preacher in 1980's "The Blues Brothers," starring Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi.
In a statement released Tuesday by his publicist, Aykroyd said, "No one has ever integrated music, musicianship, dance and showmanship so effectively as did J.B. Every rap, hip-hop, house, soul, R&B, rock and pop artist practicing today has been influenced compositionally and choreographically by Mr. Brown.
"Fortunate were those of us who were able to engage his talents and witness his latest shows. The greatest on-stage revue of music in the history of our planet."
Brown was himself to the end, at one point saying, "I'm going away tonight," said friend Charles Bobbit, who was with the singer when he died. "I didn't want to believe him," he said.
A short time later, Brown sighed quietly, closed his eyes and died, Bobbit said.
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Associated Press writers Don Schanche Jr., Hillel Italie, Greg Bluestein and Larry Neumeister contributed to this report.