MICHAEL JACKSON MEMORIAL: Fans prepare farewell

by
July 5, 2009
MICHAEL JACKSON MEMORIAL
Fans prepare farewell <!–10 min–>

Hundreds of millions of fans across the world will bid a final farewell to Michael Jackson on Tuesday in a lavish memorial to the tragic ‘King of Pop’ expected to bring America to a standstill. — PHOTO: AP

LOS ANGELES – HUNDREDS of millions of fans across the world will bid a final farewell to Michael Jackson on Tuesday in a lavish memorial to the tragic ‘King of Pop’ expected to bring America to a standstill.

An exclusive guest list of family and VIPs will be joined by around 11,000 fans crowded into the Staples Center in Los Angeles for the send-off, which Jackson once said he hoped would be ‘the greatest show on earth.’ Precise details of the service have been kept under wraps, but amid speculation that some of the biggest names in showbusiness may perform in an event intended as a celebration of the tortured pop icon’s life and times.

Jackson’s mysterious death from an apparent cardiac arrest at the age of 50 on June 25 sent shockwaves rippling around the world, triggering an avalanche of tributes from Beverly Hills to Beijing.

Thousands of fans continue to flock to Jackson’s star on Hollywood’s ‘Walk of Fame’ in Los Angeles while a makeshift shrine of flowers, cards and toys has steadily grown outside the gates of the singer’s Neverland Ranch.

Jackson sold more than 750 million albums during a glittering four-decade career that was ultimately overshadowed by repeated allegations of child abuse, his startling physical transformation and eccentric behavior.

Jackson’s family has not revealed where the singer will be buried.

The musical clan earlier quashed the idea of a poignant ceremony at Neverland Ranch, which posed logistical headaches due to its remote location in ritzy Santa Barbara wine country.

However, Jackson’s elder brother Jermaine said he would still like the pop legend to be buried at the estate, a tribute to Jackson’s fascination with childhood that in its heyday boasted giraffes, tigers and a private amusement park.

‘I feel his presence because this is his creation,’ Jackson said on Thursday.

‘This is where he should be rested because it’s him.’ Organisers of Tuesday’s memorial, which gets underway at 10.00am (1700 GMT), have appealed to ticketless fans to watch the event on television, fearing chaos if hundreds of thousands take to the streets to mourn. — AFP

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