LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Michael Jackson fans paid their respects Saturday to the late King of Pop on the second anniversary of his shock death, as his famous “Thriller” video jacket went under the hammer in Los Angeles.
Fans were allowed to place flowers by the singer’s mausoleum at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park just outside Los Angeles, where he died from an overdose of powerful sedative propofol on June 25, 2009, aged 50.
“He just wanted to make the world a better place, and now that he’s gone, that lives on through the fans who love him,” fan Linda Higgins told KABC television.
“We’re carrying that message and his mission through us,” she added outside the mausoleum in Glendale, where Jackson’s close friend Elizabeth Taylor was laid to rest nearby in March.
The anniversary was more low-key than one year after his death, when the singer’s siblings gathered at the picturesque cemetery, and were joined by thousands of fans.
This year, Jackson’s father Joe was reported to have been seen at his son’s memorial early in the day.
Two years after Michael Jackson’s surprise death, the mystery over exactly how he died continues to fuel legal wrangling, conspiracy theories and family strains.
His personal doctor Conrad Murray is still awaiting trial on manslaughter charges for allegedly giving Jackson an overdose of propofol to help him sleep on that fateful morning at his Beverly Hills mansion.
Days ahead of the second anniversary of his death, Jackson’s sister La Toya published a new book reiterating her claim that he may have been murdered, and had voiced fears to her that someone was out to kill him for financial reasons.
“I truly feel Dr Murray was simply the fall guy. I think it’s too easy to blame him. I think the investigation needs to go a bit further than just stopping at Dr Murray,” she said ahead of the book’s publication this week.
On Saturday, the famous red and black leather jacket worn by Jackson in the iconic “Thriller” video was going under the block.
Auctioneer Darren Julien called the jacket “the most recognized and significant piece of pop culture” at a two-day Music Icons sale, and said he expected it to fetch at least $200,000.
In downtown Los Angeles, the Grammy Museum — the music industry body’s showcase — opened a permanent exhibit devoted to Jackson, including two of his famous sequined gloves.
Elsewhere, Jermaine Jackson sang a tribute to his late brother, on the eve of Saturday’s anniversary, on the sidelines of the 2011 International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) in Toronto, Canada.
In Las Vegas — where a permanent show by the Cirque du Soleil troupe is due to open — a shooting incident reportedly clouded a tribute by fans visiting a home where Jackson lived during a stint in the casino capital.
Police rushed to the scene when gunshots were heard from a few houses away — although initial reports said the victim was a dog, shot by a police officer after it attacked him, according to the TMZ celebrity website.
Fans also posted their comments on Jackson’s official website, where an anniversary message trumpeted the “indescribably unique spirit that still connects Michael today with countless fans in a way that knows no borders.”
“I can’t stop crying because you were so loved by everyone. I have pictures of you all over my house, and every day I talk to you as though you are still here,” wrote one, Mama60Jama.