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Hazlynda Kushairi


Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Jacko's body to be at Staples Center

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Michael Jackson's body will be brought to the memorial service at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, sources involved in the planning said.

Jackson's family and closest friends will attend a gathering at the Hollywood Hills Forest Lawn cemetery Tuesday morning before going to the public memorial.
Teddy Riley, a singer who worked closely with Jackson on several albums, said Jackson family members told him the casket will be driven in a procession from Forest Lawn to the arena.
A second source familiar with the planning also said the King of Pop's body would be delivered to the arena.
"It wouldn't be fair for the fans who are going to appear and be here at the Staples center not to see his casket," Riley said.

He said earlier plans to use a helicopter were changed because of concerns about where it would land.
An army of fans poured in to Los Angeles from places far-flung, hoping to collectively mourn their idol in a massive ceremony at the Staples Center downtown Tuesday.
Police put up concrete barriers around the center, allowing only fans with tickets to the star-studded event to enter -- beginning at 6 a.m. (9 a.m. ET).

Parking lots in the area raised their prices, some as high as $30. Airports in Southern California saw a spike in bookings. And several movie theaters in the area announced special screenings of the event, which will also be carried live by some television networks and Web sites.
"I guess the crowd estimate is the $64,000 question that everybody is wondering about, and we are as well," Jim McDonnell, Los Angeles' assistant police chief, said Monday.
"I anticipate the crowd here will be well-behaved. It will be a crowd that gathers for the right reasons and keeps the reason they're there in mind."
Police would not say what kind of security measures they have put in place. The cash-strapped city has said it will foot the bill for law enforcement.

Until the last minute, the Jackson family remained tight-lipped about where the singer will be buried, but signs pointed to Hollywood Hills Forest Lawn cemetery.
Several carloads of people, Michael Jackson's sister La Toya among them, came and went from the heavily secured cemetery after sunset Monday. But it was not immediately clear whether they were there for a private viewing.

Shortly before the cars began arriving, a hearse drove up, with at least five police cars in tow.
The hearse backed partly in through the door of the Hall of Liberty -- a 1,200-seat auditorium on the grounds -- so that any casket unloaded and loaded would not be visible to the media helicopters overhead.

The Jackson family would not comment on the after-hours gathering. Neither would cemetery officials.

Tuesday will begin with a private gathering of Jackson family members at the cemetery at 8 a.m. (11 a.m. ET), CNN has learned.
The California Highway Patrol will escort Jackson family members from his parents' Encino, California, home to the cemetery and then to the arena, sources close to the planning said.

Michael Jackson's funeral will be Tuesday, said Jackson lawyer Burt Levitch. But he did not say what time or place.
It is not known whether Jackson's body will be taken to the Staples Center. However, an official with AEG Live -- the concert promoter handling the memorial -- said there would be no funeral processional.

The Staples event is expected to feature singers Mariah Carey, Usher and Stevie Wonder.
Also participating will be basketball stars Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson; singers Jennifer Hudson, John Mayer and Smokey Robinson; and activists Martin Luther King III and the Rev. Al Sharpton, according to an announcement released on behalf of the Jackson family.

Taylor, in a message posted on Twitter and verified by CNN, said she declined an invitation to speak because she "cannot be part of the public whoopla."
"I just don't believe that Michael would want me to share my grief with millions of others," Taylor tweeted. "How I feel is between us. Not a public event."
Rowe planned on attending but decided against it, said lawyer Marta Almli.

"The onslaught of media attention has made it clear her attendance would be an unnecessary distraction to an event that should focus exclusively on Michael's legacy," Almli said.
Fans congregated in downtown Los Angeles, outside the Staples Center regardless of whether they had tickets.

On Monday, organizers used a computer to choose 8,750 names from 1.6 million people who registered for tickets online. Each received a pair of tickets, for a total of 17,500 tickets.
Just 11,000 of those are for seats inside the arena. The other 6,500 are for viewing the memorial telecast across the street at the Nokia Theater.
The Jackson family set aside an additional 9,000 Staples Center seats to give out to people they choose, organizers said.

Two fans waiting to get in for the service were surprised at their good fortune.
Michelle Mann and Basra Arte, both 18, flew in from Vancouver, British Columbia, to honor Jackson. They stood outside the Staples Center, brimming with excitement and celebrating the generosity of a complete stranger. "It's overwhelming," Mann said. "We can't believe that we're here."

The two had appeared on Canadian television and said they planned to fly to Los Angeles for the memorial service even though they didn't have tickets. Six hours before their flight, 15-year-old Karlo Karanan, who'd seen them on TV, tracked them down and gave them his.
"I'm looking forward to being in the presence of other fans," Arte said. "The energy is going to be amazing."

from CNN

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