Thousands thronged the streets of the Caribbean city of Barranquilla for the funeral of singer and songwriter Joe Arroyo, who died this week of pneumonia, heart and kidney problems.

Thousands of people accompanied the casket of the 56-year-old Alvaro Jose Arroyo in a procession lasting several hours through the city from the cathedral to the Jardines de la Eternidad cemetery.

Musicians, actors, colleagues, journalists, relatives and people who came from all over Colombia and beyond paid their last respects to the creator of what became known as the "Joeson" ("Joe sound").

The composer of "Tania," "Rebelion" and "El preso," among dozens of other hits, died on Tuesday at a hospital in Barranquilla.

During Wednesday's funeral procession, some of Arroyo's closest friends in the music world, including Fruko, El "Checo" Acosta, Wilson Manyoma, Juan Carlos Coronel and Juan Piña remained with the vehicle bearing Arroyo's casket, while thousands around them sang many of his best-known songs.

During the burial itself, two senior officials from Colombia's Culture Ministry read from a government proclamation honoring Arroyo.

In his artistic career of more than 40 years, Arroyo "made an invaluable contribution to the country's musical heritage with his incessant creative ability, through the writing of dozens of (songs) that took root deeply in the imaginations of millions of people," the statement said.