Michael Jackson Memorial


LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) — Michael Jackson’s band members, family, children and celebrities filled the stage at the Staples Center on Tuesday to sing Jackson’s “Heal the World” as his memorial service drew to a close.

Jermaine Jackson sings his brother's favorite song "Smile" in front of the King of Pop's casket.

Jermaine Jackson sings his brother’s favorite song “Smile” in front of the King of Pop’s casket.

The song followed a performance of “We are the World,” the 1985 hit written by Jackson and Lionel Richie to raise money for African famine relief.

During the memorial, a host of friends, stars and politicians gathered to remember the King of Pop.

Berry Gordy, founder of Motown Records, called Michael Jackson the “greatest entertainer that ever lived.”

“The more I think and talk about Michael Jackson, I feel the King of Pop is not big enough for him,” Gordy said as the crowd rose to its feet. “I think he is simply the greatest entertainer that ever lived.”

Gordy also recalled how when he auditioned the Jackson 5 in 1968, 10-year-old Michael was talented beyond his years.

“He was driven by his hunger to learn, to constantly top himself, to be the best. He was the consummate student. He studied the greats and became greater. He raised the bar and then broke the bar,” Gordy said. Video Gordy: Michael was ‘special’ »

Jackson’s golden casket was placed in front of the stage at his memorial as a choir sang.

Several of Jackson’s older brothers, each wearing one sequined glove, served as pallbearers, carrying the coffin to the stage as the Andrae Crouch choir sang “Soon and Very Soon.”

The stage at the Staples Center resembled a church sanctuary with a stain-glassed backdrop.

Mariah Carey was joined by Trey Lorenz singing The Jackson 5’s 1970 hit “I’ll Be there” as a montage of Jackson photographs appeared on arena screens.

Queen Latifah, saying she was on stage to represent “millions of fans inspired by Michael,” said “Michael was the biggest star on earth.” Lionel Richie then performed the song “Jesus is Love.”

Stevie Wonder took the stage next, sitting at a keyboard.

“This is a moment that I wished that I didn’t live to see come, but as much as I can say that and mean it, I do know that God is good,” Wonder said. “And I do know that as much as we may feel, and do, that we need Michael with us, God must have needed him more.” Photo Photos: Celebrities remember Jackson »

Wonder then delivered an emotional version of his 1971 song “Never Dreamed You’d Leave in Summer.”

Basketball stars Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson also addressed the crowd. Singer Jennifer Hudson took to the stage and sang Jackson’s song “Will You Be There.” Video Hudson sings in tribute »

The Rev. Al Sharpton addressed the crowd and spoke of Jackson’s contribution to the music world.

“When Michael started, it was a different world, but because Michael kept going, because he didn’t accept limitations, because he refused to let people decide his boundaries, he opened up the whole world in the music world,” Sharpton said. “He put on one glove, pulled his pants up and broke down the color curtain.”

Sharpton then addressed Jackson’s children.

“There wasn’t nothing strange about your daddy,” he said. “It was strange what your daddy had to deal with, but he dealt with it.”

Singer John Mayer then took out his guitar and performed Jackson’s “Human Nature.”

An emotional Brooke Shields, who was 13 when she became close friends with Jackson, said they bonded “because we both understood what it was like to be in the spotlight from a very, very young age.”

The service turned to tears, though, as Jackson’s brother Jermaine sang “Smile,” a favorite song of Michael’s. After struggling not to cry through the song, Jermaine was hugged by his surviving brothers as he left the stage.

Martin Luther King III, Bernice King and Congresswoman Shiela Jackson Lee also addressed the crowd.

Usher later sang “Gone Too Soon,” as he walked towards Jackson’s casket.

Earlier in the memorial Smokey Robinson read personal messages from several of Jackson’s celebrity friends who could not attend.

“Michael was a personal love of mine, a treasured part of my life, part of the fabric of my life, in a way that I can’t seem to find words to express” Diana Ross said in a message read by Robinson.

Robinson also read a message from Nelson Mandela, saying they had grown close after trips and performances in South Africa.

“We had great admiration for his talent and that he was able to triumph over tragedy on so many occasions in his life. Michael was a giant and a legend in the music industry. And we mourn with the millions of fans worldwide,” Robinson said, relaying Mandela’s message.

The public memorial began after Jackson’s family and closest friends attended a gathering at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills on Tuesday morning.

Jackson’s family and friends were at the chapel, which can hold about 1,000 people.

An army of fans poured into Los Angeles from places far-flung, hoping to collectively mourn their idol in a massive ceremony.

Police put up concrete barriers around the center, allowing only fans with tickets to the star-studded event to enter. Photo See gallery as people prepare for service »

The total cost for security at the event is estimated to be between $2 million and $4 million, said Matt Szabo, spokesman for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

The city, in the midst of a budget crisis, will foot the bill, Councilwoman Jan Perry said last week. Video Watch police say fans without tickets should stay home »

Until the last minute, the Jackson family remained tight-lipped about where the singer will be buried, but signs pointed to Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills after several carloads of people, La Toya Jackson among them, visited the cemetery Monday. Details: Who will be there; map of area »

Actress Elizabeth Taylor, a longtime Jackson friend, and Debbie Rowe, Jackson’s former wife and the mother of his two older children, both said they would not be attending.

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. Video Watch fans receive 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, organizers said.


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