Friends and family of Diem Brown gathered in New York City Tuesday to say goodbye to the MTV reality star who lost her long battle with cancer last Friday. Brown, 32, was memorialized at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in downtown Manhattan.
According to reports, the service was quite emotional as Brown’s family followed the casket to the church as the hymn “On Eagles’ Wings” played in the background. Us Weekly reported the pallbearers included Brown’s brother Jarrod Brown, uncle Allen Brown, cousin Joey Brown, Jeff Clarke (her sister Megan’s boyfriend), Mike Ross (the husband of Brown’s best friend Alicia Quarles) and Sasan Soleimani.
Following the opening precession, country singer Trisha Yearwood performed the single “I Remember You,” a song from her new album, which honors her mother, who died from breast cancer in 2011, People reported.
Brown’s sister then delivered a touching eulogy, which she prepared for by visiting Brown’s favorite spots in New York, ranging from Central Park to the Plaza Hotel.
"Diem loved hard, lived hard and danced hard," she told the attendees. "My mom always said that Diem came out fighting since day one."
Brown showed off just how strong she was when she revealed to the world during her first “Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Fresh Meat” in 2006 that she was battling ovarian cancer. But that didn’t stop her from competing in six more “Challenge” competitions. While Brown was filming her eighth stint on the MTV series in Panama, she collapsed on set and was airlifted to New York, where she underwent emergency surgery. Brown's ovarian cancer had spread to her colon and stomach.
Many of Brown’s fellow MTV stars attended the funeral to pay their respects to their friend, including her longtime on-again, off-again boyfriend Chris “CT” Tamburello, Evan Starkman, Kenny Santucci, Mark Long, Johanna Botta, Ace Amerson, Paula Meronek, KellyAnne Judd, Ruthie Alcaide, Aneesa Ferriera, Laurel Stuckey, Cara Maria Sorbello and Johnny “Bananas” Devenanzio.
As Brown’s casket was being walked out of the church, a video montage of her life simultaneously played on several of the TV screens, displaying images from Brown’s childhood in Georgia, to her college years at Florida State University and moments from her MTV TV career.
In the program, which included the verse from Proverbs 31:35, “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future,” Brown was remembered by her given name, Danielle, along with her late mother Jillian, whom she will be buried beside.
"Our dancing angel, Danielle Michelle Brown, is watching from Heaven's window with her mother, Jillian Catherine Brown."