They came in their hundreds to Bishop Lavis in Cape Town to bid farewell to their favourite son, TV star Randall de Jager, who was murdered in Johannesburg.

A huge crowd, including fellow TV actors, overflowed the New Apostolic church on Saturday to pay their last respects.

De Jager, born in Bishop Lavis, played the role of bookshop assistant Aubrey Rudolph on the SABC2 soapie 7de Laan.

In the series, De Jager was caught up in a love triangle - in love with Vanessa but having made another woman, Felicity, pregnant.

The 29-year-old actor was fatally wounded in an armed robbery at a house in the luxury suburb of River Club, north of Johannesburg, early on December 22.

The attackers fled after grabbing a cellphone and De Jager's friend's handbag.

No arrests have yet been made.

In an emotional cremation service, De Jager was described as a child of God - someone who had inspired many in the Bishop Lavis area.

Bishop Bradley Adonis, who conducted the service, said: "De Jager used his talent to serve his community and those around him."

He said De Jager became involved with the church at the age of 17 and became a Sunday school teacher. Most of the children he taught were now also churchgoers.

"They have taken away his life but there is one thing that cannot be taken away from him, that he is the child of God," Adonis said.

Visibly grieving, 7de Laan director Henry Mylne described De Jager as the "perfect ingredient" for the entertainment industry and his death as a major loss to the series.

He said De Jager had been like a brother to him and to everyone in the series.

Mylne called on the government to bring back the death penalty. He said that since 1994 things had been going from bad to worse and people's lives had became less valuable.

Struggling to hold back tears, Mylne said: "The government of the day is not concerned about people's lives."

However, some mourners also found time to cheer the presence of other TV stars and to ask for autographs, including that of Glen Majozi who played the role of Roderick Jafta in the rival series, Generations.

De Jager is survived by his mother, two sisters and a brother.