Michael Jackson's star-studded memorial

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 3 July 2009
Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson's star-studded memorial

Up to one million fans are expected to flock to Los Angeles' Staples Center arena to attend a memorial service for Michael Jackson on Tuesday (07.07.09)

Michael Jackson's memorial will be held at Los Angeles' Staples Center arena on Tuesday (07.07.09).

Up to one million fans are expected to attend the star-studded service, with a further 750 million watching on TV.

The singer's family has confirmed the ceremony will feature performances and tributes from a range of stars, reportedly including former Beatles legend Sir Paul McCartney, Diana Ross and Elizabeth Taylor.

Former Miss Indiana Kellee Patterson and singer Deniece Williams, both from Michael's home town Gary, Indiana, have also agreed to perform.

The Jackson family is reportedly keen to make sure the service lives up to the spectacle the singer dreamed of.

The family's lawyer Brian Oxman confirmed: "It's going to be huge. Massive."

In 2002, Michael said: "My funeral is going to be the greatest show on earth. That's what I want. Fireworks and everything."

Nearly 20,000 people will be seated in the stadium, while giant screens will broadcast the send-off to fans who can't get in.

US President Barack Obama - who recently expressed his sadness at Michael's death - is believed to have been invited.

The service will start at 10am, and will reportedly last two hours. Ironically, it will be held on the stage Michael spent his last evening alive as he rehearsed for his London residency.

Footage of the rehearsals - captured just 48 hours before the singer's death from a suspected cardiac arrest last week - was released on the internet last night (02.07.09).

In the clip, Michael looks thin but otherwise fit and healthy as he performs a medley including his 1995 hit 'They Don't Care About Us'.

Fans were outraged yesterday, when it emerged venue owners AEG Live were planning to charge $25 for tickets to the service.

The company has since backtracked and will now give away 11,000 tickets for free.

A spokeswoman for the company said: "Executives have been in back-to-back meetings all day over how things will work. They've just come out to see the reports everywhere. I can confirm that we will not be charging."

Michael's body is expected to be buried at Forest Lawn cemetery in the Hollywood Hills, where his grandmother was laid to rest in 1990.

Other celebrities interred there include Bette Davis, Lucille Ball, Liberace and David Carradine, who died in Thailand last month.

It is not known when the funeral will take place, but the singer is expected to be buried in a $25,000 gold-plated casket.

The custom-made coffin - which features a blue velvet interior and a hand-polished mirror finish - is the same type used to bury legendary singer James Brown in December 2006.

The Jackson family had been hoping to bury the singer at his beloved Neverland ranch, but they were unable to obtain the residential exemption necessary for a burial on private property.

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