Michael Jackson's public memorial under way in L.A.

Posted: Updated:

(AP) - A private ceremony for Michael Jackson washeld Tuesday morning at a cemetery in the Hollywood Hills, whilefans began swarming the Staples Center in downtown in anticipationof a global spectacle.

A motorcade left the home of Jackson's parents shortly after 8a.m., and authorities shut down parts of two major LosAngeles arteries as it passed on its way to Forest Lawn MemorialPark Hollywood Hills cemetery.

Jackson's family members and dozens of friends, led by hisparents, Joe and Katherine, were seen walking into a hall at thecemetery, where a small viewing was apparently held the nightbefore. News reports estimated as many as 20 helicopters circledoverhead.

Police said that after the private ceremony, Jackson's bodywould be taken to the singer's public memorial at the StaplesCenter, which was to be televised live around the world. Among thecelebrities expected to attend the memorial were Stevie Wonder,Mariah Carey, Usher, Lionel Richie, Kobe Bryant, Jennifer Hudson,John Mayer and Martin Luther King III.

Inside the Staples Center, a stage was bathed in blue light anda spray of yellow and orange flowers was placed in front of apodium. The backdrop featured a photo of Jackson and the words:"In Loving Memory."

Outside the arena, video billboards showed a montage of picturesfrom Jackson's life, including those of the singer as a child, withcelebrities such as Luciano Pavarotti and Marcel Marceau, and withmembers of his family.

More than 1.6 million people registered for the lottery for freetickets to Jackson's memorial. A total of 8,750 were chosen toreceive two tickets each.

About 50 movie theaters across the country, from LosAngeles to Topeka, Kan., and Washington, D.C., planned to show the memorial live, for free.

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