Thousands of fans who had queued since the early morning hours joined former first lady Laura Bush and top musicians to pay final respects to country legend George Jones at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville today.

The influential country star died last Friday at the age of 81.

The funeral included speeches from Bush and Jones' friends and colleagues such as Barbara Mandrell and Kenny Chesney. Performers included country stars like Randy Travis, Charlie Daniels, Tanya Tucker and Brad Paisley.

A hard-living Texan who battled addiction and financial troubles, Jones was celebrated for his precise baritone and No. 1 hits that spanned five decades, including the heartbreaking, Grammy-winning ballad He Stopped Loving Her Today.

He inspired many aspiring country singers as well as singers in other genres, including Frank Sinatra, Pete Townshend and James Taylor.

A member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1956 and inducted into the U.S. Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992, Jones was celebrated during the annual Kennedy Center Honors in 2008.

In 2012, he announced a final tour that he said would be his grand farewell to country music.

With files from The Associated Press