WEB DESK: Michael Jackson’s estate paid tribute to his artistry and charity Tuesday as fans began gathering to celebrate his memory on the 10th anniversary of the King of Pop’s death.
“Ten years ago today, the world lost a gifted artist and extraordinary humanitarian,” the Jackson estate said in a statement to The Associated Press. “A decade later, Michael Jackson is still with us, his influence embedded in dance, fashion, art and music of the moment. He is more important than ever.”
The estate has doggedly worked to protect and enhance Jackson’s legacy, a task made more challenging this year when two men accused Jackson of molesting them as boys in the HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland,” sparking new scrutiny of years-old claims that Jackson preyed on children. Jackson was acquitted of abuse allegations in 2005 and always vehemently denied such allegations, and the estate and his family angrily refuted the men’s claims when the documentary was released in March, noting the men had at one time been among Jackson’s biggest defenders and one testified on his behalf at his criminal trial.
Mourners began to gather early Tuesday and placed elaborate flower arrangements and poster-sized pictures of Jackson, some featuring signed messages from dozens of fans, outside his mausoleum at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.
A florist delivered on the arrangement from a client in Japan. A heart made from flowers in the colours of the Iranian flag featured the message “Iran (hearts) MJ.” Another flowered heart read “Love from Denmark.”
A fan from Las Vegas, dressed as Jackson in a bright red shirt and one white glove, was among the first mourners to appear.
Fans also plan to gather at Jackson’s last home in the Holmby Hills neighbourhood of Los Angeles, where the singer received a fatal dose of the anaesthetic propofol on the afternoon of June 25, 2009, from his doctor. Jackson was declared dead at a hospital at age 50.