Jackson fans mark pop star’s first anniversary

MICHAEL Jackson fans around the world began yesterday marking the first anniversary of the music icon’s death, with events from candlelight vigils to slumber parties planned in honour of the tragic superstar.

Jackson, 50, died from a drug overdose at a rented Los Angeles mansion on June 25 last year, a seismic celebrity death that triggered a global outpouring of tributes for the eccentric genius known as ‘The King of Pop.’

Flowers began piling up in Tokyo, where 50 diehard fans paid the equivalent of more than €800 each to attend a sleepover inside an exhibition space showcasing some of the singer’s belongings. The participants were chosen from 10,000 applicants who wanted to spend the night in the Neverland Collection at Tokyo Tower, surrounded by artifacts including Jackson’s music awards, Rolls Royce and crystal-studded gloves.

In Germany, candlelight vigils with music, balloons, posters and Jackson imitators were planned in numerous cities, including Berlin, Hamburg and Munich.

Fans dressed as their idol gathered in Prague, too, and unveiled plans for a bust of the singer in a city party.

In Los Angeles, fans began gathering early at the picturesque Forest Lawn Memorial Park, a star-studded cemetery where the singer’s golden casket was entombed last September.

Park authorities have indicated they plan to keep a tight grip on the proceedings, saying visitors will only be allowed to walk past the elaborate neo-classical mausoleum that houses Jackson’s final resting place.

College student Dominique Richardson woke at 2.00am to get to the cemetery at daybreak.

“It’s Michael Jackson,” she told KTLA local television. “Michael Jackson has inspired a lot of people and it’s like the closest we’re ever going to get to Michael so why not come and pay your respects?”

Jackson fans are also expected to pay tribute at the singer’s family compound in Encino.

In Hollywood, a wax likeness of Jackson has been placed on display in front of Madame Tussauds, a short distance from Jackson’s star on the Walk of Fame.

Meanwhile, Billboard magazine reported Jackson’s estate has generated more than $1 billion (€800m) in revenues since the singer’s death, through the re-issue of his music, films and other commercial spin-offs.

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