Tens of thousands of wailing Japanese fans packed streets around a temple in central Tokyo on Thursday to bid farewell to a rock star who committed suicide.

Hideto Matsumoto, 33, who was lead guitarist for the wildly popular but now defunct rock band X Japan, hanged himself in his Tokyo apartment Saturday.The group, which broke up after a final concert on New Year's Eve, was known for its wild hair, heavy makeup and dedication to social causes.

Some of the mourners gathered outside the temple had their hair dyed blue, orange, yellow or green. Many were clutching bouquets of white flowers or Buddhist rosary beads and dressed in black, while others sobbed into handkerchiefs.

The crowd, estimated from 20,000 to 50,000 people, stretched for more than two-thirds of a mile along the streets under a blazing sun.

Some had camped out in front of the temple gates for several days.

At least five were taken to hospital after fainting, a newspaper reported.

One 14-year-old fan died after hanging herself in the days leading up to the funeral and another in her late teens was in critical condition after leaping from a bridge.

Japanese television reported that one young fan was killed and seven others injured on Thursday when their van crashed on a central Japan expressway en route to the funeral.