At least 18 people were killed early Saturday in a stampede at the funeral of a Muslim spiritual leader in the western Indian city of Mumbai, officials said.

The stampede occurred after thousands of faithful crowded in front of the building where the body had been placed of holy man Syedna Mohamed Burhanuddin, who died Friday, so that his followers could pay their last respects.

Most of the victims died of suffocation after being knocked down and crushed by others attending the funeral ceremony.

The spiritual leader of a popular Islamic spiritual community in Mumbai, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin died Friday at age 102.

Stampedes are common in India, chiefly during religious rites that draw huge crowds.

More than 100 people died last October when people were scattered during a festival in honor of the Hindu goddess Durga in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, in the worst incident of its kind to occur in the country in recent months. EFE