Martyn Hett, one of 22 people killed in last month's Manchester Arena terror attack, was a social media sensation known for his inventive sense of humour and love of Coronation Street and powerful divas, including Mariah Carey and Ariana Grande. (You only need to check out his hilarious YouTube channel and Twitter account for proof.)
So it's fitting that his family planned a "theatrical" funeral for the 29-year-old PR executive and writer from Stockport, which will see him "exit like a diva", Sky News reported.
Thousands of people – including hundreds of friends and thousands of online fans – were expected to attend the open service today at Stockport Town Hall and it was screened outside for those who could not fit inside the building.
Pictures on social media suggest that Coronation Street actors and singer Michelle McManus, of whom Martyn was also a fan, attended the service.
The funeral was planned in accordance with Martyn's wishes, his mother, Figen Murray, told Sky News. "Martyn actually had discussed and planned his funeral and the way he wanted to exit. He wanted to be cremated, he wanted to have two white horses and he wanted everybody to be dressed in black, with something fabulous."
She continued: “Martyn, having lived the life of a diva, and a social media sensation, he can’t just be disappearing quietly. He has to have an exit like a diva and that’s what we have to do," adding that “he’s got a very interesting coffin" which he’d have been "thrilled to bits with”. An image of the Coronation Street-themed coffin has since been shared on social media, after a Twitter user took a screen grab of live-streamed footage from inside the funeral.
The public funeral and celebration of Martyn's life will be followed by a private cremation and wake for close friends and family.
In the same interview, Figen said she has forgiven her son's killer and he "doesn't deserve" to be hated. Instead, she and Martyn's stepfather, Stuart Murray, have chosen to remain positive in the face of tragedy.
"The man who did this was a young man who was brainwashed and radicalised from an early age," Figen said. "He did what he thought was the right thing in his crazy mind and he did it and that was the end of it. I can't change that. But actually, I choose to forgive him."