Hundreds of adoring fans gathered Saturday outside the Great Mausoleum at Forest Lawn in Glendale to pay tribute to the King of Pop.
The day marked the second anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death, and admirers from across the globe made the trek to pay homage to the music icon.
“He was an ‘Earth angel’ for sure,” said superfan Carlo Riley. “People 100,000 years from now aren’t going to believe Michael existed because he was so exceptional.”
The 28-year-old Denver resident was dressed up as Jackson — complete with a black hat and adorned jacket — and had visited the site last year. He met Jackson in 2007 when he traveled to Japan for an anniversary of the “Thriller” album.
“He was the physical embodiment of happiness,” Riley said.
Others traveled farther for the occasion and planned to spend the day at Forest Lawn and relocate to Jackson’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the evening.
“We wanted to get here as soon as the gates opened,” said 25-year-old Brandy Stephenson of Kansas City, Mo. “We thought it would be more intimate before the big crowd arrived.”
Stephenson was joined by fellow Jackson fans Reva Revill from Sarasota, Fla., and Charlotte Rowe, from Liverpool, England.
All three flew out to pay tribute to Jackson’s life, and Revill gathered messages from her 800 Twitter followers for a poster she left outside the Great Mausoleum as a way for those who couldn’t make it out to Glendale to show their appreciation for Jackson’s legacy.
The site of Jackson's grave in the Holly Terrace inside the mausoleum was not open to the public, and visitation was restricted to family members, officials said.
Jackson’s father, Joseph Jackson, arrived around 8:45 a.m. Saturday morning. The musician’s father spent 10 minutes inside the Great Mausoleum before waving to the crowd, snapping a quick picture with a young fan from Japan and departing.
“We don’t want to be disrespectful,” said Stephenson after fans flashed cameras at Joseph Jackson. “This isn’t a circus; it’s supposed to be more like a funeral.”
Glendale police were on alert in case any fans caused problems at the cemetery, but had not received any reports Saturday afternoon.
Forest Lawn security officials declined to comment on the growing crowd.