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‘It’s more like a faith’: Fans celebrate Michael Jackson 10 years after iconic musician’s death

Michael Jackson was seemingly everywhere at an event held on Tuesday at the mausoleum in Glendale where he is interred to commemorate the 10th anniversary of his death.

The King of Pop’s face was emblazoned on T-shirts, backpacks, buttons and hats. Fans of all ages and ethnic backgrounds sported fedoras, military jackets, single white gloves and the late entertainer’s signature black curls. Jackson dolls peeped out of handbags. Posters brought by fans from as far as Japan, Italy and China featured life-size pictures of the pop sensation.

“Michael’s music spoke to different people differently,” said Marcell “Porkchop” Miller, a friend of the Jackson family who helped emcee the event at Forest Lawn Memorial Park. “And every song he made was to many people.”

Jackson died when he was 50 years old in Los Angeles from an accidental overdose of drugs he was given to help him sleep.

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Tanisha Woods, 26, traveled to Los Angeles for the first time from Panama City, Fla., to pay homage to Jackson.

“When I didn’t have anything at all, I had his music to inspire me, to give me motivation to keep me going,” said Woods, who has been a fan since she was 5 years old. “That’s something I can never really thank him enough for.”

Haotian Liu, who lives in Los Angeles, said he visits Jackson’s final resting place at least twice a year — for the anniversary of his death and his birthday.

“Every time there’s been difficulty in my life, Michael gave me strength and power,” Liu said. “It’s not just [worshipping] an idol. To me, it’s more like a faith.”

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According to Liu, the event on Tuesday drew more people than previous gatherings at the site.

Mel Miller and Georgia Hagger met at the event after traveling to it separately from different parts of Australia.

“I felt it was a good opportunity to meet like-minded people and just embrace the occasion,” said Mel Miller, who added that Jackson has been a part of his daily life for as long as he can remember.

During the mid-afternoon, Marcell Miller asked attendees to form a circle and connect with the people around them. At one point, a recording of Jackson singing “Heal the World” played. Fans embraced each other, sang, swayed and audibly wept.

Looming over the event was the release several months ago of “Finding Neverland,” a documentary featuring two men who allege Jackson sexually abused them beginning when they were children.

Geraldine Hughes, the former legal secretary for the father of a boy who accused Jackson of sexual abuse in 1993, proclaimed Jackson’s innocence.

“Redemption is the truth behind the false allegations,” Hughes said, echoing others who spoke during the event.

Applause and shouts of support suggested broad consensus on the point.

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