Samba singer Elza Soares was laid to rest in Rio de Janeiro © Getty Images

Beyoncé was among musicians who paid tribute at the passing of revered Brazilian samba singer Elza Soares, a performer at the Rio 2016 Olympic Opening Ceremony. 

Mourners gathered to pay their last respects as Soares was laid to rest in Moca Bonita, an area of Rio de Janeiro close to where she was born 91 years ago.

Beyoncé posted a photograph of  Soares with the words "Rest in Peace".

"Your music has entertained and inspired many in Brazil and around the world," Beyoncé's message read.

"We are so grateful."

Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes, who had also been in office at the time of the 2016 Olympics, declared three days of official mourning 

Soares was 86 years old when she performed at the Rio 2016 Opening Ceremony in a sequence of music and dance which reflected the people of the favela communities.

She had famously been married to the legendary Brazilian World Cup winning footballer Garrincha and passed away on the 39th anniversary of his death, on January 20.

"Elza left the day she wanted, as she wanted without suffering and surrounded by family," her granddaughter Vanessa told Globo.

"The beloved and eternal Elza has gone to rest but she will forever remain in musical history and in our hearts and those of thousands of fans all around the world," the family said in a statement.

"Just as Elza Soares had wished, she sung until the end."

Singer Maria Rita also hailed Soares as "one of the greatest in our country, representative of the resistance and resilience of its people."

A huge mural reflects the popularity of Elza Soares © Getty Images
A huge mural reflects the popularity of Elza Soares © Getty Images

Born in the favela of Vila Vintém in Moça Bonita, she had been forced to marry at 12 years old, became a mother at 13 and a widow at 21.

Her career as a  singer had spanned over 60 years.

The BBC recognised her achievements with a special award in 1999 for "Singer of the Millennium".

"If I didn’t sing, I would die," Soares once said in a television interview. 

"I sing so I don’t go crazy."