Updated: Tuesday, 29 April 2014 05:11 | By Agence France-Presse

Barcelona pay last respects to Vilanova

Barcelona and the world of Spanish sport on Monday gathered in the city's cathedral for the funeral service of former coach Tito Vilanova, who died last Friday after a long battle with cancer aged 45.


Barcelona pay last respects to Vilanova

Mourners gather during a religious ceremony for late former Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova at Barcelona Cathedral on April 28, 2014 - by Josep Lago

More than 1,500 people, including the Barcelona squad, attended the service for Vilanova, who had been cremated on Saturday.

He was first diagnosed with cancer of the salivary gland over two years ago and was forced to step down as Barcelona boss last July after just one season in charge to continue receiving treatment.

"He will always be in our heart and we will never forget him," said Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Some 53,000 people queued up to pay their respects to Vilanova in a dedicated section of Barca's Camp Nou stadium over the weekend.

"Of all the things that my father told me the most important is that life is too short to be unhappy," said Vilanova's daughter Carlota in front of gathered mourners including the Catalan president Artur Mas.

Vilanova had been assistant coach to Pep Guardiola before taking over the first team in the summer of 2012 and leading Barca to the title last season.

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