Family and friends are gathering in Cape Breton today for a private ceremony to remember Rita MacNeil.

MacNeil, one of the island's most acclaimed performers, will be honoured first in Sydney at the T.W. Curry Parkview Chapel.

The funeral for the 68-year-old singer — who died Tuesday evening following complications from surgery after a recurring infection — will be held on Monday at St. Mary's Parish in Big Pond.

MacNeil, who was one of eight children, moved to Toronto at age 17, wrote her first song and began singing in folk clubs. She later moved to Ottawa, where she recorded three albums, but eventually returned to Big Pond, where she formed a trio.

She gradually became a beloved fixture in Canadian culture, with her greatest success coming after she was in her 40s. Her powerful voice explored genres from country to folk to gospel.

MacNeil, who was also a member of the Order of Canada and the recipient of five honorary doctorates, has been praised by many for her wisdom and humility.

How to watch the funeral:

CBC will be covering the event and the service will be live streamed on our website at cbc.ca/ns.

Tune in on April 22, 2013 at 2 p.m. AT.