Jackson Memorial at Neverland Ranch
Viewing for pop icon likely to take place Friday at Jackson's crumbling compound
June 30, 2009— -- A memorial for Michael Jackson will be held at Neverland Ranch, the pop star's crumbling Xanadu-like estate replete with zoo and amusement park, but which Jackson abandoned years ago in the wake of child molestation charges, law enforcement sources said.
Jackson's body will be moved to the ranch and a memorial service will likely be held there Friday, according to the sources and published reports.
The funeral, however, will likely not end speculation as to how Jackson, 50, died.
Police still have questions for Dr. Conrad Murray, the cardiologist who administered CPR to Jackson before he was taken to the hospital. Murray will not attend the funeral, the doctor's lawyers told ABC affilaite KTRK.
Following the lead of family matriarch Katherine Jackson, the family has hunkered down at their California home, rarely speaking with the media. Some family members, as well as police, have been seen entering the Holmby Hills rental home where Jackson died.
Katherine Jackson, 79, "has always had the quiet hand," the Rev. Al Sharpton told "Good Morning America" today.
Sharpton, who has known the family for more than three decades and has spent time with the Jacksons since Michael Jackson's death last week, described Jackson's mother as a "rock."
Jackson died Thursday after suffering an apparent cardiac arrest at his rented Los Angeles home. Though some close to him have said he was addicted to the painkillers OxyContin and Demerol, a lawyer for his Dr. Conrad Murray, Jackson's personal physician, said the doctor had not prescribed either of those drugs for the pop icon.
And that legacy includes three young children, now in the custody of their grandmother.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff ruled that, at least for now, Katherine Jackson would get custody of his three children, Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., known as Prince Michael, 12; Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson, 11; and Prince Michael Jackson II, 7.
Beckloff also made Katherine special administrator of the property pending a hearing July 6.
The judge's ruling did not cover Jackson's financial assets, which includes his stake in the Sony-ATV Music publishing catalog. The catalog contains legendary music from the Beatles, and Bob Dylan, as well as new acts such as the Jonas Brothers. Its worth has been estimated at as much as $2 billion.
A hearing to consider those requests has been scheduled for Monday.
A source confirmed that Jackson drafted a will in 2002 and the document will filed in court as early as Wednesday. Longtime Jackson attorneyJohn Branca and John McLain, a friend and music executive, are the named executors.
Jackson, according to the source, bequeathed everything he owned to his mother Katherine, three children, and charitable organizations.
Sharpton said one of Katherine Jackson's biggest priorities is going to be getting her three grandchildren acclimated to the scrutiny that comes from being Michael Jackson's children.
"They're fine," Sharpton said of Jackson's daughter and two sons. "They seem at home. They are at home."
Sharpton said that despite reports to the contrary, the Jacksons are a close-knit family who have always rallied around their most famous member.
"I think they've always operated as a family," he said, adding that strife within the Jackson clan has always been exaggerated. "At the lowest point in Michael's life when he was on trial, it was his mother and father that walked with him out of that courtroom every day."
But things seemed to be looking up for Jackson, professionally, in the months before his death. Though many speculated he would not be physically capable, Jackson, friends and colleagues have said, was looking forward to his 50-concert "This Is It" show in London.
There was something almost magical about Jackson's last rehearsal, according to lighting designer Patrick Woodroffe, who said in a BBC radio interview that "it was almost like he couldn't stop himself."
Even though "he was frail you might say," Woodroffe said, he remembered something "extraordinary" happening when Jackson took the stage around 9 p.m. Tuesday.
"Suddenly he was performing as one had remembered him in the past," he said.
While Woodroffe said he didn't know if Jackson would have been able to do all 50 concerts, "there was a sense he would have done it."
"He was an odd person, he was a different person," Woodroffe said, "but my view is you always judge people as you find them."
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