Italy bids farewell to beloved TV host Fabrizo Frizzi

'A brother' says Conti, 'keep him in hearts' says Pieraccioni

(ANSA) - Rome, March 28 - Italy on Wednesday bade farewell to the late and much-loved TV presenter Fabrizo Frizzi, who died three days ago.
    Frizzi's funeral took place at the Chiesa degli Artisti (Church of the Artists) in Rome's Piazza del Popolo.
    Thousands of people crowded the square and gave his coffin a long and loud round of applause as it went into the church.
    The priest officiating, Father Walter Insero, described Frizzi as a "generous fighter, always with a smile".
    "He is now receiving all the love that he sowed," Father Insero said in his homily.
    Among the mourners were fellow presenter Carlo Conti, who said "he was a brother to me, I can't say anything else", and Tuscan actor-director Leonardo Pieraccioni who said "let's keep him in our hearts".
    Entertainer Simona Ventura said "he was an exceptional colleague, of great humanity".
    Singer Fiorella Mannoia said "everybody loved him".
    Neapolitan crooner Gigi D'Alessio said "he was a friend to everyone".
    Presenter Gerry Scotti told reporters "he had all the characteristics of a good friend".
    Former showgirl Lorella Cuccarini said "he was a wonderful soul". Singer Giorgia said "this demonstration of affection says it all".
    A neighbour told reporters "he was very close to me when my son died".
    The nursery school teachers of his five-year-old daughter, Stella, said "he was an ever-present father" and he had "got very emotional" during her Christmas play, when he was still suffering from the condition, which he fought without making it public, that eventually killed him.
    The funeral ended with the recital, by an emotional RAI host Flavio Insinna, of a well-known poem by Jorge Luis Borges, 'Friendship'.
    Frizzi's young wife Carlotta, a former Miss Italy contestant, Stella, and his brother Fabio left the church by a side door to dodge the crowds of mourners and well-wishers.
    Frizzi, who had been ill for some time but had returned to work for RAI State broadcaster's prime-time quiz show L'Eredità, (The Inheritance) died of a brain haemorrhage at 60 early on Monday morning.
    Frizzi was for many years the presenter of the charity phone-in event Telethon.
    He was also a regular presenter of the Miss Italy beauty pageant, fronting 18 editions of the event.
    Frizzi started his highly successful career as a 22-year-old on youth programmes in 1980.
    Among his highly successful shows were I fatti vostri, Scommettiamo che...?, Luna Park, Per tutta la vita, Cominciamo bene, and Soliti ignoti - Identita' nascoste.
    His only rival in terms of number of shows presented were the late Corrado, and Frizzi's friend and mentor Pippo Baudo, another RAI legend.