By Laila Kearney
(Reuters) – A memorial took place for rising singing star Christina Grimmie near her New Jersey hometown on Friday after she was fatally shot by a deranged fan last week while signing autographs in Orlando, Florida.
Grimmie’s funeral at the Fellowship Alliance Chapel in Medford, New Jersey, opened with a recording of her cover of the song “In Christ Alone” before relatives and friends shared their memories of the 22-year-old Grimmie.
“Christina I am so proud of you. I love you girl. I love that you’re walking with Jesus on streets of gold. I’ll see you later,” her aunt Kathy said during the service.
Grimmie was shot in Orlando’s Plaza Live concert hall on Saturday evening after performing as the opening act for the band Before You Exit.
Kevin James Loibl, 27, of St. Petersburg, Florida, approached her and opened fire before being tackled by the singer’s brother. Loibl died on the scene of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Grimmie, whose career was launched after she posted videos of herself singing on YouTube, began working with professional music producers at age 16, the funeral home’s obituary said.
She later finished in the top three on the sixth season of “The Voice,” performed on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “Dancing with the Stars,” and opened for singer Selena Gomez.
The obituary also said she recently raised $250,000 for the Humane Society of the United States.
Grimmie is survived by her parents, Albert and Tina Grimmie, and brother Marcus.
(Reporting by Laila Kearney; Additional reporting by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Bill Trott and Alexander Smith)