Michael Jackson death: Fans mark 5-year anniversary in Glendale

Michael Jackson death: Fans mark 5-year anniversary in Glendale
A wide-angle view of fans who began arriving early for the Michael Jackson fan memorial on the fifth anniversary of Jackson's death, at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale on Wednesday. (Raul Roa / Glendale News-Press)

About 75 fans trickled into Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale on Wednesday morning to pay tribute to Michael Jackson five years after his death from an overdose of the anesthetic propofol.

Many fans hugged each other. They greeted passersby with shirts bearing Jackson's face and long black hair, the Glendale News-Press reported.


Thousands of dew-covered roses and love letters from as far away as Japan and Germany, penned to the late King of Pop covered the grass leading up to the Great Mausoleum, his final resting place.

It all made Donna Holmes a 56-year-old Bronx, N.Y., resident, tear up. She has been a fan since the Jackson 5.

"He didn't put a song out to put a song out," she said. "There was always one song on his record to raise awareness about an issue."

Doctors attributed the 50-year-old singer's death to an overdose of propofol administered at his home by Dr. Conrad Murray a few weeks before Jackson's much-anticipated "This Is It" tour in London.

Mike Polk, 24, said he had planned to attend the concert that never happened. Outside the mausoleum, he donned a black fedora hat. White tape covered the tips of his fingers. A leather belt, similar to the one on Jackson's "Bad" album cover, buckled around his waist.

Polk's look wasn't complete without the thick white socks and black loafers. He obliged the few Jackson fans who smiled, asking for a picture.

Polk, of Toledo, Ohio, said he does more than dress similar to Jackson. He performs concerts dressed as Jackson to raise money for sick children. Polk also teaches hip-hop dance classes to high school students.

"His music runs through my veins," Polk said. "I love the humbleness of him. He loved to give. It makes me want to put more work into my work back home."

Iris Finsterle, of Munich, Germany, credits Jackson as her inspiration for creating Bridge of Hope for Dogs In Need, a small rescue organization that places dogs from high-kill shelters into homes internationally.

"He changed my life," said Finsterle, 55, pointing to the tattoo of the initials M.J., topped with a crown on her left arm.

"He tried to change people's minds and make them think globally," she said. "We can show we'll never forget him."

Alicia Banks writes for Times Community News.

Contact and follow her @AliciaDotBanks.