National funeral today in Montreal for Canadiens legend Guy Lafleur

Guy Lafleur_2_RDS

MONTREAL - A national funeral will be held later this morning for Montreal Canadiens legend Guy Lafleur.

The final farewell to Lafleur begins at 11 a.m. with a ceremony at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral in downtown Montreal.

Lafleur, 70, died April 22 following a battle with lung cancer.

Thousands of people have paid tribute to Lafleur over the past two days as he was lying in state at the Bell Centre, the home arena of the Canadiens.

Nicknamed "the Flower" and "Le Demon Blond," Lafleur was an NHL Hall of Famer and five-time Stanley Cup champion, having played for the Canadiens, New York Rangers and Quebec Nordiques.

The Canadiens hockey club said in a statement the Lafleur family accepted a national funeral as a way to share its grief with the community out of respect for the public who have supported Lafleur over the years.