He lived in the spotlight from the age of 10, and he died in it as well, with the nation glued to their TV sets. Now Michael Jackson's fans are waiting to publicly mourn him. His funeral, to be held Tuesday at Los Angeles's Staples Center, according to news reports, could be huge. It's possible that it will eclipse Elvis's (75,000 fans congregated in Memphis, Tenn.) and Princess Diana's (which saw 250,000 people in Hyde Park), according to the Daily Telegraph, But what exactly can we expect? A prominent friend of the Jackson family who asked to remain anonymous offers some insights.
1. Will there be a public viewing? Jackson's body currently isn't in shape for a public viewing, the friend says, though many in the family still think the public should see him one last time. But his mother, Katherine, who seems to be calling all the shots, is very strongly against a public viewing, as is his sister Janet.
2. Who will deliver the eulogy? Jackson will most likely be eulogized by both the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson in both the public and private memorials. The family friend says Jackson's father, Joe Jackson, is basically out the loop--the entire family is mortified by Joe's presence and TV appearances. His input is being ignored, according to the family friend.
3. What about the private service? Katherine was apparently hoping to hold a private funeral and burial before the memorial on Tuesday. But public demand may override that. The family friend says that Katherine has been repeating her fear that leaving Michael unburied for more than a week would cause his soul to wander, and she feels his soul wandered enough on Earth.
4. Where will he be buried? The burial site is still undecided, though Neverland Ranch is one option. Area residents are opposed. Talk of taking him back to Gary, Ind., his hometown, has been squashed.
5. How are the kids coping? The family is keeping the children away from TV and newspapers, much like Michael did when he was alive.