Fans sing, lay wreaths to celebrate Michael Jackson

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Hundreds of Michael Jackson fans gathered at his grave for a daylong celebration of his life and music Tuesday, with some traveling thousands of miles to join in the singalongs, selfies and moment of silence that marked the 10th anniversary of the death of the King of Pop.

“If you have a depressing day, and you listen to Michael Jackson, it just seems to make everything better,” said Kurt Williams, 21, who was dressed as Jackson and flew in from South Carolina for the occasion. “He was a master singer, a master dancer and a master humanitarian.”

It was largely a lively celebration outside the mausoleum that is Jackson’s final resting place at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California, where his music played loudly amid a sea of floral arrangements and poster-sized pictures of the pop superstar who died at age 50 on June 25, 2009.

A solemn moment came as more than 200 fans joined hands in a giant circle at 2:26 p.m., the time Jackson died. After a moment of silence, they pointed at the sky and yelled “Michael!” in unison.

“There are people dying, if you care enough for the living, make it a better place, for you and me,” the crowd sang together in an emotional group rendition of Jackson’s anthem “Heal the World.”

Some parents brought their children to Forest Lawn.

Dominic Lendo, 6, drew the attention of much of the crowd as he showed off Jackson dance moves while wearing the singer’s Billie Jean-era garb.

Dominic Lendo dances in front of Michael Jackson's mausoleum. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

“I like to sing like him, and I like to dance like him,” Dominic said as he stood with his father, Omar Lendo, 43, who added, “He loves to dance and that’s all he does all day. If it’s not Michael Jackson he doesn’t want to hear it.”

Michael Leon, 25, came from Beijing for the occasion and led the crowd in a rendition of “You Are Not Alone,” one of Jackson’s later hits.

“That song is my favorite one, and it suits the situation,” Leon said. “I’m not religious, but I hope Michael would be happy.”

Other fans came from as far as Tokyo and Florence, Italy.-AP