When Michael Jackson was pronounced dead at 2:22 p.m. on June 25, 2009, the world was taken by collective shock and fans everywhere mourned. It was obvious from the start that the pop star’s memorial service would be a very public affair. On the morning of July 7, Michael’s family held a private ceremony at the Hall of Liberty at Forest Lawn – Hollywood Hills, before heading to the public service, which took place at STAPLES Center in Downtown Los Angeles. The event was broadcast live and watched by millions of people worldwide. Due to some disagreement among Jackson family members about where the King of Pop should be buried, he was not laid to rest until two months later. On Sept. 3, the Jacksons and 200 invited guests said their final goodbyes to the singer before interring him in the Holly Terrace of the Great Mausoleum at Forest Lawn - Glendale. While portions of the Great Mausoleum are accessible to the public, the Holly Terrace is private - the cemetery has set up a designated place for fans to leave flowers in memory of the late pop star.
Originally established by Hubert L. Eaton in 1917, the sprawling 300-acre cemetery is the final resting place of countless celebrities, including Jean Harlow, Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Nat “King” Cole, Humphrey Bogart, and one of Michael’s personal heroes, Walt Disney. The picturesque site boasts manicured lawns, landscaped gardens, numerous works of art, a swan lake, several churches, and a museum. Due to its scope, beauty, and fantastical elements, the cemetery is often compared to Disneyland and, as such, is a fitting final home for Michael, a man who so famously suffered the enduring pain of a lost childhood.