There were emotional goodbyes around the world as Michael Jackson fans gathered in public places to watch the memorial service in Los Angeles.
Thousands followed the event from New York’s Harlem district, where a nine year old Michael once won a talent contest with his brothers as the Jackson 5. “He’s just the greatest, and it hurts my heart to see him gone,” said Patricia Charles, a long-time fan. “We have to come out and celebrate and pay our respects.” Across the Atlantic the rain was not going to put off fans from watching at London’s O2 arena. The venue was due to stage the singer’s marathon run of comeback concerts. Many are expected to gather at the arena again next Monday, the original date for the first night. US President Barack Obama paid tribute to the star during his visit to Moscow, comparing him to Elvis and Sinatra. Not far away, young Russians sang Jackson songs and hundreds of balloons were released into the sky. Global internet traffic was said to have risen by a third as millions of fans watched the memorial via their computers and shared their feelings with other users.