A Gospel choir singing "We're going to see the king" launched an emotional public memorial for Michael Jackson on Tuesday as the music world and thousands of fans bade farewell to the singer known as the "King of Pop."
Jackson's brothers carried the singer's gold-trimmed casket into the Staples Center sports arena in downtown Los Angeles for the memorial, the same place where Jackson rehearsed the day before his death for a highly-anticipated comeback tour.
Some 18,000 fans and friends got tickets in the arena or at a nearby, overflow theater for the ceremony, which took place against a large backdrop and picture of Jackson that read "In Loving Memory of Michael Jackson King of Pop 1958 - 2009."
Mariah Carey, Jennifer Hudson, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, John Mayer and even Britain's Got Talent runner up Shaheen Jafargholi took it in turns to perform.
To his fans he was their hero, but to his children he was simply 'the best daddy ever'.
And last night Michael Jackson's children stepped into the limelight to pay tribute to their father.
The memorial was being shown live on U.S. television networks, in some 37 U.S. movie theaters, and was streamed on the Internet.