Michael Jackson: the world says goodbye
- Bang Showbiz
- 7 July 2009
Michael Jackson's 11-year-old daughter Paris joined his loved ones and a host of music stars, including Mariah Carey, Lionel Richie and Usher, to pay tribute to the late pop icon at his memorial service at Los Angeles' Staples Centre on Tuesday (07.07.09)
Michael Jackson's daughter joined his loved ones in paying tribute to the late star as the world bid its final farewell to the 'King of Pop'.
Paris, 11, was surrounded by the singer's siblings on stage at Los Angeles' Staples Centre on Tuesday (07.07.09) as she broke down trying to tell the audience at his memorial service how much he meant to her and her brothers, Prince Michael I, 12, and Prince Michael II, seven.
She said: "Ever since I was born, daddy has been the best daddy ever, and I just want to say I love him so much."
Mourners at the service saw renditions of the singer's greatest hits performed by some of the world's biggest music stars including Mariah Carey, Lionel Richie, Usher, John Mayer and Jennifer Hudson.
Among those paying tribute to the iconic star's life were his rumoured former girlfriend Brooke Shields.
Struggling not to break down throughout her lengthy speech, Brooke recalled her "pure, one-of-a-kind" friend's sense of fun.
The actress said: "He was often referred to as the 'King' but the Michael that I knew was always the little prince. Michael saw everything with his heart.
"When we were together we were just two kids having fun. Michael loved to laugh, his heart would burst out of him when he laughed. He loved it when I did silly imitations or told him stories. MJ's laugh was the sweetest and purest laugh of anyone I ever knew. It was always a competition to see who could make the other one laugh more or be sillier."
Telling the 20,000-strong crowd Michael's favourite song had been Charlie Chaplin's 'Smile', she then left the stage while his brother Jermaine - who along with his siblings was wearing a single white sequined glove in tribute to Michael's iconic stage outfit - performed the track to a standing ovation.
Long-time friend Smokey Robinson - who opened the service by reading tributes from Nelson Mandela and Diana Ross - said in his second address he was delighted to have known the star and vowed never to forget him.
He said: "I'm glad that I lived in this era. I believe so much in God. I believe so much that this is not it. We have life after this is done. So my brother is in a place now where he is most certainly going to live forever in the hereafter, so he's going to live forever twice, because he's going to live forever here because the world will never ever forget Michael Jackson."
Prior to his performance, Stevie Wonder spoke of his distress at Michael's passing at the age of just 50 - from a suspected cardiac arrest - saying he wished he hadn't been alive to see it.
He said: "This is a moment that I wished that I didn't live to see come. But as much that I can say that I mean it, I do know that God is good and I do know that as much as we may feel - and we do - that we need Michael here with us, God must have needed him far more."
Motown Records founder Berry Gordy Jr. hailed Michael's creative genius, describing him as the most talented artist who ever lived.
He said: "Michael Jackson went into orbit and never came down. Though it ended way too soon, Michael Jackson's life was beautiful.
"The more I talk about Michael Jackson, the more I feel the 'King of Pop' is not big enough for him. I think he is simply the greatest entertainer that ever lived."
Other speakers at the service - at which Michael's flower-covered solid bronze coffin was on display at the front of the stage - included basketball players Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant, Queen Latifah, Rev. Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III and choreographer Kenny Ortega.
Prior to the star-studded memorial service, a private family funeral had taken place at the Forest Lawn Cemetery.
Over 1 billion people watched the ceremony which was televised live around the world and broadcast on the internet.