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Michael Jackson laid to rest

September 3, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Michael Jackson has finally been laid to rest, more than two months after his death. Several hundred mourners took part in the private funeral service for Jackson Thursday night at Forest Lawn in Glendale.

The service was delayed for more than an hour and a half because Jackson's family was late to arrive. It was scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.; it began closer to 8:30 p.m.

The star-studded funeral for the King of Pop was held outdoors behind the Grand Mausoleum of Glendale's Forest Lawn Memorial Park. It was a private service with 200 family and close friends in attendance, including Elizabeth Taylor, Rev. Al Sharpton, Chris Tucker, Quincy Jones and Macaulay Culkin.

Mourners were left waiting in 90-degree heat for the family to arrive. Their motorcade left the Jackson's Encino compound an hour and a half late.

Police had escorted the family's motorcade of 31 cars, including five 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 convoy of luxury vehicles passed many fans, who were kept at a distance. There were no huge crowds, unlike the larger public memorial service in July, but some just couldn't stay away.

"He's the king of entertainment and was the best that ever did it, and nobody can ever top that," says Cameron Smith, a Jackson fan.

"It was important for us to be here to say goodbye to him and it's like a closure for us, for everybody. We needed that closure, you know, to say bye to the king," said Luis Kezzer, another Jackson fan.

Two large photos of Michael Jackson were placed next to the casket amid displays of white lilies and roses. In the front rows were Michael's parents Joe and Katherine, his three children -- Prince Michael, Paris and Blanket -- and his siblings.

Jackson's five brothers -- Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Randy -- were the pallbearers. At the beginning of the ceremony, Jackson's children placed a crown on their father's coffin to signify the final resting place of the King of Pop.

Gladys Knight sang "His Eye is on the Sparrow," and Clifton Davis sang "Never Can Say Goodbye," a tune he wrote for the Jackson 5. 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 humor - if he were here today, they said, he would be laughing and smiling.

Afterward, his five brothers carried the singer's flower-draped casket into the mausoleum, followed by the mourners.

The funeral service ended at around 10 p.m. After the service, the Jackson family, friends and celebrities gathered for a reception at Villa Sorriso Restaurant and Bar in Pasadena.

The Grand Mausoleum, where Jackson is entombed, is completely off limits to public, but many say it's a fitting place for the pop icon to spend eternity.

Jackson will share eternity at Forest Lawn with the likes of Clark Gable, Jean Harlow and W.C. Fields, entombed alongside them in the mausoleum.

Jackson's funeral comes 70 days after his sudden death on June 25.

The family held a massive public service at Staples Center for the pop star, but the burial had been delayed due to division within the family.

The Jackson family will pay for all funeral expenses, including the massive police presence that has been brought in to make sure there are absolutely no problems.

"Because law enforcement has closed the streets around it, you won't even be able to get near the park to see the park. So the best shot, the best view, is at home," Lorenz said.

It was revealed on Wednesday that twelve plots were being purchased at the cemetery. Attorneys did not give a total figure for the extraordinary service, but the city of Glendale estimates that it will be upwards of $150,000.

Jackson's funeral won't end the legal drama over his drug-induced death at age 50, which authorities have labeled a homicide. No criminal charges have been filed over his death, which came on the cusp of a series of London concerts meant to restore Jackson to his once-incandescent stardom.

Last week, coroner's officials said they believed Jackson's death was homicide, and his death certificate has been amended to reflect that. It cites "injection by another" as the fatal injury.

Investigators have said a mix of the powerful anesthetic propofol and another sedative killed the pop singer. The new record lists "acute propofol intoxication" as the main cause of death and "benzodiazepine effect" as another significant contributor.

The certificate does not mention Dr. Conrad Murray, who was Jackson's personal physician. He told detectives that he gave the singer a series of sedatives and propofol to try to help him sleep.

The coroner's determination of homicide makes it easier for prosecutors to seek criminal charges, but does not necessarily mean a crime was committed.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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