Though no one can ever replace Michael Jackson, the contemporary artist perhaps most closely associated with the King of Pop is Usher. During the public memorial service held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the 30-year-old R&B singer performed a chill-inducing tribute to the fallen star.
Wearing dark sunglasses and a yellow rose pinned to his lapel, Usher covered the track “Gone Too Soon,” a single off MJ’s 1991 album, Dangerous. Jackson wrote the song in memory of Ryan White, who died of AIDS after contracting the disease via a blood transfusion during surgery. Before his death, White was expelled from school because of his condition and eventually became a national spokesperson for the AIDS crisis. He passed away in 1990 at the age of 18.
While “Gone Too Soon” never became a hit single, Dangerous itself did, going platinum seven times and staying on the Billboard chart for 117 consecutive weeks.
After beginning the song while sitting in a chair, Usher rose and strode across the stage. He then walked down the stage steps and onto the floor in front of the Jackson family, where he began to approach Michael’s gold-plated coffin. Continuing to sing, Usher came to a stop in front of the red rose-covered coffin and rested his left hand on it.
Before he could finish, Usher’s voice began to waver, and he completed the final lyric — “gone too soon” — through tears. As the song ended, he was surrounded by Jackson’s family. After hugging them all, he went and knelt in front of Michael’s mother, Katherine, and placed his head in her lap as tears streamed down his face.
For complete coverage of the life, career and passing of the legendary entertainer, visit “Michael Jackson Remembered.”
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