Dozens of fans from across the globe filed into Forest Lawn Memorial Park this morning to pay tribute to Michael Jackson on the first anniversary of the pop icon’s death.
Fans starting lining up outside the cemetery gates at around 6 a.m. for a chance to pay tribute to Jackson, who is interred inside the Great Mausoleum.
Lydia Gimenez-Llort, 44, said she timed a business trip from Barcelona to coincide with the anniversary, and planned “to do the rounds” today, with visits to Jackson’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and his family’s home.
“I’ve been in love with Michael since I was 18,” she said while sporting a white glove.
Many fans dressed in tribute to Jackson’s iconic style cues, from glittery black tuxedo jackets to aviators.
Carlo Riley, a 27-year-old Michael Jackson impersonator from Denver, said his business has tripled in the past year, with gigs as far away as Hong Kong and Japan. Dressed in a black tuxedo jacket, sunglasses, tightly curled hair and taped fingers, Riley said today marked an important moment for diehard fans.
“It’s very emotional, but at the same time, I want to celebrate his life,” he said.
As the gates opened shortly after 8 a.m., the crowd of fans had grown to near 100 as reporters from around the world buzzed through crowd filing interviews. At least 170 media workers had checked in with Glendale police this morning.
Many of the fans started walking or jogging up the main avenue to the Great Mausoleum, carrying sunflowers and other tribute items to drop off at the site.
Forest Lawn officials said fans would be allowed to drive or walk by the site, but that no one would be permitted to enter the building. Some members of the Jackson family were expected to arrive later today to pay their respects.
While no public event permits were pulled with Glendale police, a large contingent of officers were patrolling the area to maintain traffic flow as dozens of media vehicles crammed in around Cerritos Elementary School across from the cemetery.
Police warned fans that anyone attempting to hawk wares or causing disruptions on nearby sidewalks would be cited.