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December 4, 2021

Michael Jackson’s body to be put on public display at Neverland, burial set for Sunday

Police and other authorities in California were on Tuesday locked in discussion over a plan to put Michael Jackson’s body on display at the site of his former fantasy playground, Neverland, on Friday for a potentially chaotic public farewell, The Guardian reported. The cable TV network CNN and the website TMZ, which first broke the news of Jackson’s death, both reported that his body would be taken in a 30-car motorcade tomorrow the 130 miles from his home in Los Angeles to the Neverland ranch. Jackson’s father, Joe, said on Monday his son would not be buried at Neverland. Police were working out how to avoid major traffic problems as the convoy wends its way to the ranch, as it would draw tens of thousands of fans. A public viewing would reportedly be followed by a private memorial service on Sunday. Captain David Sadecki, a spokesman for the fire service in Santa Barbara county, said: “The department is willing to accommodate the Jackson family with whatever request they have regarding a funeral procession should they have one.” Neverland was set up two decades ago by Jackson as a playground for children but many of the attractions, such as a ferris wheel, railway and amusement rides, have long since fallen into disrepair.

The singer had been rehearsing for a 50-concert tour, to begin in London in a fortnight, when he died on Thursday. AEG Live, the promoters of Jackson’s concerts in London, said that they were hoping to go ahead with the tour, with the Jackson family taking to the stage. Footage of his rehearsals could also be released. AEG Live was set on Wednesday to offer ticketholders a choice between a refund and a souvenir ticket. In the battle for custody of Jackson’s three children and his millions in assets, Jackson’s mother, Katherine, consolidated her position. Having been granted temporary custody of the children on Monday, the family lawyer, Londell McMillan, yesterday found a copy of a 2002 will and filed it with the court in Los Angeles. The will said custody should go to his mother and that his assets be divided between her, his children and charities. There was apparently nothing for his father, with whom he said he had an unhappy relationship.

Documents show that Jackson had $567.6m (£344.7m) in assets, including Neverland and rights to songs by the Beatles, but had debts of $331m, leaving him with a net worth of $236.6m. The documents were dated 2007. In New York on Tuesday, long lines of Jackson fans formed from early morning to pay homage at Harlem’s Apollo Theater, where the singer’s career took off at the age of nine when he won a talent contest.

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