Friends, family, celebrities, and thousands of audience
members have paid tribute to the late pop superstar Michael Jackson at an arena
in Los Angeles and in coordinated events around the world.
The star-studded public memorial took place Tuesday at the Staples Center
sports arena where Jackson held his last rehearsal two days before his sudden
death on June 25. Jackson's golden casket, draped with flowers, was placed in
front of the stage.
The service began with musician Smokey Robinson reading comments from friends
of the pop star, including former South African president Nelson Mandela.
Berry Gordy, founder of Motown Records, said Jackson was "simply the
greatest entertainer that ever lived."
Actress Brooke Shields spoke about her childhood friendship with Jackson and
what she said was his favorite song, "Smile," written by Charlie
Jackson's brother Jermaine performed the song, standing alone on a dark stage,
wearing a copy of Jackson's signature sequined glove.
Near the end of the service, the stars gathered on stage to sing "We Are
the World," a 1985 hit song written by Jackson and Lionel Richie to raise
money for famine relief in Africa.
Finally, Jackson's 11-year-old daughter Paris, rarely seen in public, took the
microphone for a few seconds to say a few tearful words of love for her father.
Afterward, pallbearers rolled his coffin out of the arena.