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Updated: September 5, 2009 00:49 IST

Jackson's funeral touching, emotional

AP
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The mourners followed the crowned, lushly flower-draped casket as Jackson's brothers, each wearing a bright red tie and a single crystal-studded glove, carried it into the mausoleum.
AP The mourners followed the crowned, lushly flower-draped casket as Jackson's brothers, each wearing a bright red tie and a single crystal-studded glove, carried it into the mausoleum.

The King of Pop was laid to rest on Thursday night at a funeral more than two months after his death.

Michael Jackson, his gold coffin topped by a bejewelled crown placed there by his children, was laid to rest on Thursday night at a funeral here more than two months after his death.

The King of Pop was mourned by celebrities including Elizabeth Taylor, Barry Bonds and Macaulay Culkin at a private service outside the elaborate Forest Lawn Glendale mausoleum where Jackson was to be entombed.

As the hour-and-a-half service ended, Jackson’s mother appeared extremely weary and had to be helped to her car, according to one guest at the service. The person, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the day, said the service was simple but touching and emotional.

Gladys Knight sang “His Eye is on the Sparrow,” and Clifton Davis sang “Never Can Say Goodbye”. A minister spoke briefly.

Friends of the Jackson family were invited to speak and several did, telling of their admiration of the Jacksons, who raised themselves up from poverty. They recalled Michael Jackson’s sense of humour, if he were here today, they said, he would be laughing and smiling.

Afterward, the mourners stood and followed the crowned, lushly flower-draped casket as his five brothers, each wearing a bright red tie and a single crystal-studded glove, carried it into the mausoleum.

Jackson’s daughter Paris, 10, cried as the group entered the mausoleum, but she and brothers Prince Michael, 12, and Prince Michael II, 7, known as Blanket, were composed through most of the service. The children placed on Jackson’s casket the spangled crown, which rested atop a plume of white and purple flowers.

Inside, Knight performed “Our Father” (The Lord’s Prayer), which the guest said moved many to tears. There were two oversized portraits of a youthful, vibrant Jackson mounted next to the casket amid displays of white lilies and roses. At Jackson’s lavish public memorial, red roses covered his casket.

Police had escorted the family’s motorcade of 31 cars, including Rolls-Royces and Cadillacs, from Encino to Forest Lawn, about a 20—minute journey, with the hearse bearing Jackson’s body at the end.

The invitation notice indicated the service would begin promptly at 7 p.m.; it began closer to 8:30.

About 250 seats were arranged for mourners over artificial turf laid roadside at the mausoleum, and a vivid orange moon, a mark of the devastating wildfire about 10 miles distant, hung over the cemetery.

A large, blimp—like inflated light, the type used in film and television production, and a boom camera hovered over the seating area placed in front of the elaborate marble mausoleum. The equipment raised the possibility that the footage would be used for the Jackson concert documentary “This Is It,” or perhaps the Jackson brothers’ upcoming reality show.

Nearly double the number of media credentials, 440, were issued to reporters and film crews who remained at a distance from the service and behind barricades.

The few clusters of fans who gathered around the secure perimeter that encircled the cemetery entrance struggled to see much. Maria Martinez, 25, a fan from Riverside, Calif., who was joined by a dozen other Jackson admirers at a gas station near the security perimeter, gave a handful of pink flowers to a man with an invitation driving into the funeral.

“Can you please put these flowers on his grave?” she told him. Martinez said she picked them from a nearby park.

“They were small and ugly, but I did that with my heart,” she said. “I’m not going to be able to get close, so this is as close as I could get to him.”

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