Kosovo's overwhelmingly ethnic-Albanian population has begun five days of mourning for President Ibrahim Rugova, leading up to his funeral on Thursday.

The body of the 61-year-old leader, who died Saturday, will lie in state in Pristina, Kosovo's capital, for three days beginning Monday. Thousands of people gathered throughout the Serbian province Sunday to mourn the man considered the father of the independence movement by Kosovo Albanians.

Mr. Rugova's death came just days before United Nations talks on Kosovo's future were to begin. Those meetings have now been postponed until February.

Kosovo is part of Serbia, but has been administered by the United Nations since 1999. Mr. Rugova took office in 2002.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.