On May 27th, 2000, Rocket Richard lost his battle with cancer. The celebration of his life that shortly followed was unmatched in Canada, and in very few places around the world.
A state funeral was held for a hockey player. Approximately 115,000 people lined up to pay their respects to Richard at center ice of the Montreal Molson Center - the new Forum.
An estimated 2700 people - family, dignitaries and average Montrealers - crammed into the city's most famous church, the Notre Dame Basilica, for the actual funeral. Meanwhile 1000s more gathered outside where a giant video screen was set up to broadcast the funeral.
The actual funeral was broadcast nationwide and throughout the world. It was eerily similar to the passing of Princess Diana just a short time earlier.