[artist id=”1102″]Michael Jackson[/artist]’s family is scheduled to gather on Tuesday morning (July 7) for a private funeral service at Los Angeles’ Forest Lawn Memorial Park just a few hours before the pop singer’s fans will pay their respects at the Staples Center across town.
According to TMZ, several members of the Jackson clan visited the cemetery on Monday night. Brother Randy and sister LaToya were spotted entering Forest Lawn, and a hearse was spotted pulling up to the Hall of Liberty complex for what the gossip site speculated might have been a private viewing of the body. People reported that a dozen or more cars arrived at Forest Lawn on Monday night for the family event. Fans and media were camped out outside of Forest Lawn, where visitors from as far as Japan and Spain gathered to pay their final respects to the singer, who died at age 50 nearly two weeks ago following cardiac arrest.
The roster of attendees slated to participate in the memorial at the Staples Center includes Lionel Richie, Usher, Kobe Bryant, Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson, among others. Wonder and Carey are expected to perform, as well as Jennifer Hudson. Beyoncé and Whitney Houston are rumored to be attending but not participating in the official hourlong ceremony.
Along with former wife Debbie Rowe — the mother of Jackson’s two oldest children — another intimate who will not be attending the memorial is longtime friend Elizabeth Taylor, 77, who tweeted on Monday that, “I just don’t believe that Michael would want me to share my grief with millions of others. How I feel is between us. Not a public event.” One of Jackson’s closest friends, Taylor said she was asked to speak at the Staples Center but declined. “I cannot be part of the public whoopla,” she explained, “and I cannot guarantee that I would be coherent to say a word.”
As part of the heavy security measures in place for the public service, police closed off multiple areas outside of Staples Center and the Nokia Theater late Monday night. Only credentialed media members with blue wristbands will be allowed to roam the area on Tuesday morning, while fans with tickets and gold wristbands will be able to enter designated areas where they will be ushered into the separate venues.
All week, city officials have urged fans to stay away from the downtown Los Angeles area. No giant screens are in the area for fans to view the service, as previously reported. Only platforms for media cameras have been erected near the scene.
The doors are set to open at 8 a.m. PT, and the memorial service is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. According to CNN, the memorial service is expected to run for one hour. Participants were rehearsing Monday, according to reports, though no names were released.
MTV’s live coverage of the Michael Jackson public memorial service at the Staples Center in Los Angeles will begin on Tuesday at 12 p.m. ET / 9 a.m. PT.
For complete coverage of the life, career and passing of the legendary entertainer, visit “Michael Jackson Remembered.”
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