GLENDALE (CBSLA.com) — Fans from Southern California and from farther reaches of the globe are visiting Forest Lawn Memorial Park to honor the memory of pop legend Michael Jackson on the fifth anniversary of his death.
KNX 1070’s Megan Goldsby reports that, for many fans, Jackson is still very much alive through his music.
Thousands of red roses purchased by Jackson fans Wednesday through the “One Rose For Michael” campaign online were seen piling up around the Great Mausoleum at Forest Lawn, along with signs, Jackson memorabilia and other mementos.
Super-fans came from across the world to pay their respects to the pop legend. Joseph Hemmingsson made a special trip from Sweden to celebrate his favorite artist’s life.
“It’s very sad and emotional for us,” Hemmingsson said. “But we want to remember the good parts also and look back at all the great music he created and all the great shows he performed.”
Fans and Jackson impersonators reminisced, some brought flowers, others posed for pictures outside the memorial.
Darlene, who came with two of her friends all the way from Australia, said she remembers Jackson as much more than just a talented musician and dancer: “What about all these countries where he’s taken plane-loads of food in because they were starving?” She and her group were sporting replicas of Jackson’s classic black fedora, while carrying red roses and a Michael Jackson doll.
“I just feel as though I owe it to him to celebrate his life, his legacy, his music,” fan Sekou Barrow said.
Andrea Conlon is visiting from Indiana with her daughters.
“It just makes me really sad. I grew up with this, I was an 80’s girl. And even [my daughters] were really sad,” Conlon said.
The “King of Pop” was 50 when he died on June 25, 2009, due to an overdose of a powerful anesthetic he used to battle insomnia.
“I can remember being at home, where I’m from, and seeing on the news when he died, it was unreal. We were like, ‘No, this is a hoax. This can’t be true,'” said fan Katie Smith, who was visiting from Mississippi.
It’s been five years and Smith finally had a chance to see Jackson’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, were fans have been placing flowers.
“Me and my mom are the biggest fans and that was our dream to see him…we were the first ones to go and buy tickets to see ‘This is it,’ and, being here, I definitely got a picture with his star and it was a dream come true to be here and see that,” Smith said.
Local celebrations include a 10 p.m. candlelight vigil at his Walk of Fame star.
Commemorations have also been planned in Spain and the Netherlands.
Tributes are also being held at his childhood home at 2300 Jackson St. in Gary, Indiana, and outside his former Neverland Ranch in Santa Barbara County.
The family is said to be holding a private gathering to remember Jackson, whose estate is estimated to total a staggering $600 million, according to reports.
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