According to reports, plans were under way on Saturday for a private service and public memorial for the music legend, whose body was moved to a private mortuary. A source close to the Jackson family revealed that the singer's coffin was being kept under armed guard to deter ghoulish fans trying to discover its secret location.
Jackson's funeral is expected to take place on Wednesday or Thursday, believably, at the enormous Forest Lawn cemetery in Los Angeles. Following the funeral may be a public service, expected to claim a global audience as big as that of Princess Diana.
Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor, 77, who was one of Michael's closest friends, and Sir Paul McCartney, who sang with him but fell out when Jackson bought the back catalogue of Beatles' music from under his nose, are expected to be among mourners.
Mourners are also likely to include Liza Minnelli, Jackson's former wife Lisa Marie Presley and Brooke Shields, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and Madonna. Jackson was raised as a Jehovah's Witness, who are forbidden from following funeral customs that are mentioned in the Bible, including rowdy wakes and alcoholic toasts.
The faith is still followed by most of his close family, apart from brother Jermaine, who became a Muslim 20 years ago.
Jackson was briefly linked to the Nation of Islam group but never fully embraced the Muslim faith. The Witness path is the one Michael's mother and father, Joe and Katherine, are anxious to follow for his funeral," the Daily Express quoted a family friend as saying last night.
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