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Thousands say farewell to singer

It was the kind of day he loved to sing about: plenty of sunshine, the peaks of the Rockies in sight, and lots of family and good friends around.

A standing room-only crowd jammed the 2,000-seat Faith Presbyterian Church on Friday to remember John Denver as a performer whose songs "sprang from his feelings of love."Under a clear blue sky in 70-degree temperatures - the opening day of Colorado's ski season - more than 100 people stood outside in this Denver suburb to listen to the memorial service on speakers.

Denver, 53, was killed Sunday in the crash of an experimental plane he was flying in Monterey Bay, Calif.

Through tears, friends and family celebrated his life as his mother, Erma, two ex-wives, Annie and Cassandra, and three children, Zak, Anna Kate and Jesse Belle, watched.

Some of his songs were played - including "High Flight" - and more than once speakers drew laughter recalling the enthusiasm that Denver, born Henry John Deutschendorf Jr., never lost.

"His music sprang from his feelings of love," said Hal Thau, Denver's longtime manager. "Most importantly, his songs resonated with the people."

Denver's optimistic music, including hits "Rocky Mountain High" and "Sunshine On My Shoulders," during the sometimes turbulent 1970s won him millions of fans worldwide.