NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Family, friends and fans gathered Friday to pay their last respects to Hector “Macho” Camacho, who died last week after being shot during a robbery in Puerto Rico.
Earlier in the day, a horse-drawn carriage brought the former boxing champion’s body to Saint Cecilia’s Church in East Harlem on East 106th Street.
Literally thousands came out to say goodbye to “Macho” Camacho. For many, the fighter was a symbol of strength, a source of Puerto Rican pride and a boy from the neighborhood who never forgot his roots.
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Cheers greeted the flag-draped casket carrying the boxing legend as he got a hero’s final farewell.
“Yes he is a hero. He is always gonna be a hero to us,” fan Anna Castra told CBS 2′s Derricke Dennis.
Camacho’s death touched Hispanics everywhere, especially those who shared his Puerto Rican roots.
They lined up by the hundreds to pay their respects. Some came just to get a glimpse of Camacho’s casket before he was to be laid to rest.
Laura Pagano said she came with an autographed picture and old boxing gloves Camacho gave to her when they were neighbors.
“I know him like 40 years, 112th and 2nd Avenue, his mother live over there, and me, too,” Pagano said.
Camacho was left unconscious and brain-dead after being shot in the face the Tuesday before Thanksgiving while sitting in a car in Puerto Rico.
The gunman still hasn’t been caught.
Four days later, his mother Maria took Camacho off life support last Saturday, ending the legend’s last fight for his life.
“I mean the way he died, very sad,” said fan Rose Jaquez.
Before his funeral, Camacho’s four sons helped escort his casket in a carriage procession through Spanish Harlem and then back to Saint Cecilia’s while being cheered by the community he loved and surrounded by the people who loved him.
“This is his life. I think he’s gonna keep on fighting in heaven,” Jaquez said.
The 50-year-old Camacho fought professionally for three decades.
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