Tears and teddy bears as fans mourn Jackson

Tears and teddy bears as fans mourn Jackson

Candles, teddy bears and tears lined the streets of Hollywood on Friday as grieving fans of Michael Jackson gathered to celebrate the musical icon's turbulent life and times.

Hundreds of fans joined devotees who had camped out overnight on Hollywood Boulevard's "Walk of Fame," the stretch of sidewalk where celebrities are immortalized with stars set into concrete.

A makeshift shrine was slowly being built around Jackson's star, with mourning fans leaving candles, flowers, personal letters, teddy bears, balloons and paintings in his honor.

Fans queued for hours in boiling sunshine to file past Jackson's star after police erected crash barriers to manage the crowds.

Mark Cho, 25, from San Francisco was typical of the crowds that came to pay their respects. "I stood in line for more than two hours, but it was totally worth it," he said. "I feel sad, this is a tragedy. Despite everything that was said, he was a very good man."

Another fan identified only as Anthony arrived wearing a white glove and a banner reading: "Michael Jackson: A Musical Messiah.

"He was the man. He did a wonderful job, he had a wonderful life, raising a wonderful family," he told AFP.

"This is my last opportunity to pay tribute to a hero, we love Michael Jackson and the whole world will miss him," another fan, Nan Khan, added.

"My first concert ever was Michael Jackson in Washington in early 1984 or 1985 and I was 13-years-old."

Anthony Robinson, a 35-year-old fan, said he had spent the night at the site after Jackson's death was confirmed on Thursday.

"I haven't slept at all," Robinson told AFP. "When I learned the news I went to the Westwood hospital and when we got the confirmation I came here to pay tribute and remember the King of Pop.

"He was my second God -- I can't imagine the world without him."

One fan, who gave her name as Mary, offered prayers to Jackson at the site. "I just was telling him how we'll love him and how wonderful was his legacy and how we'll miss him," she told AFP.

One entrepreneur saw a business opportunity in Jackson's death -- hastily printing commemorative T-shirts bearing the slogan: "The King of Pop Rest in Peace. August 29, 1958 - June 25, 2009. There'll never be another!"

"I started printing 2,000 T-shirts at 3:00 pm yesterday when I learned the news of Jackson by Twitter, at 2:00 am I finished the printing and came here, to start selling to the fans in the street," said David Anthony, 25.

"I was born in 1985 but my father and uncle love his music, he was just magic," said Anthony, revealing he had already sold around 500 T-shirts.

Meanwhile dozens of fans appeared outside the Jackson family compound in the Los Angeles suburb of Encino, leaving candles, bouquets, assorted flowers, teddy bears and cards, several bearing the message: ""We Love You, Michael."

Tokyo native Yuka Suzuki brought her six-year-old daughter Sana to see the flowers. "I grew up with him in Tokyo," Suzuki told AFP. "Jackson's music was always there, his song was always there."

But while some fans mourned, others chose to mark Jackson's death with wild celebrations late Thursday.

In West Hollywood, patrons of bars blaring out classic Jackson tracks spilled out onto the street dancing and cheering, according to an AFP reporter.

Meanwhile, staff at Hollywood's famous Amoeba Records store reported that fans rushed to snap up Jackson records, CDs, videos and posters.


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