In this handout image provided by the Argentine presidency, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (C) stands with her Ecuadorean counterpart Rafael Correa (L) and Bolivian counterpart Evo Morales in front of the coffin of her late husband, former President Nestor Kirchner, during his wake in the Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Oct. 28, 2010. Former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner (2003-2007), husband of incumbent Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, died of heart attack on Wednesday. (Xinhua/Argentine Presidency)
BUENOS AIRES, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- Argentine President Cristina Fernandez on Thursday presided over the funeral of her husband and former President Nestor Kirchner at the Casa Rosada presidential palace in Buenos Aires.
This was Fernandez's first public appearance since Kirchner died of a heart attack Wednesday morning in the southern city of El Calafate, some 2,787 km southwest of Buenos Aires.
The funeral was hosted in the Latin American Patriots Hall of the Casa Rosada. Fernandez's cabinet members, top-level officers and many of Kirchner's followers also attended the ceremony.
President Fernandez sat for several hours by her husband's casket with her children, Maximo and Florencia.
Meanwhile, outside the Casa Rosada, hundreds gathered on the Plaza de Mayo to mourn their former president.
Some leaders from Latin American countries also attended the funeral.
Bolivian President Evo Morales said "Latin America is left an orphan" after Kirchner's death, while Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said that Kirchner had been a "Latin American patriot."
"I attend the funeral representing President Alan Garcia and the Peruvian people, who are deeply sorry for the sudden death of a leader, not only of Argentina but of Latin America," Peruvian Foreign Minister Jose Garcia Belaunde said.
While in Peru, President Garcia paid homage to Kirchner and offered his condolences to President Fernandez on Thursday morning. "We lamented deeply for the loss of Kirchner," Garcia said.
Meanwhile, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva had to advance his trip to Argentina, which had been planed for Friday, in order to attend the funeral and offer his condolences to Fernandez Thursday.
Cuban leader Raul Castro on Thursday sent a condolence message to President Fernandez on Kirchner's death. Castro offered his sincere condolences to President Fernandez and the Argentine people on behalf of the Cuban government and people.
Kirchner was president of Argentina between 2003 and 2007 and was appointed secretary-general of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) in May.