In a letter by Diana Ross, read by Smokey Robinson, she wrote that she "decided to pause and be silent, this feels right to me." Ross goes on to say, "Michael was a personal love of mine, a treasured part of my world, and part of the fabric of my life in a way I cant seem to find words to express."
Smokey Robinson reads a letter penned by former South African president Nelson Mandela. "We had great admiration for his talent and that he was able to triumph over tragedy on so many occasions in his life. Michael was a giant and a legend in the music industry. And we mourn with the millions of fans worldwide," wrote Mandela.
The Staples Center in Los Angeles is not the only place to see Michael Jackson's funeral, funeral "watch parties" are gathering internationally.
In Raleigh, North Carolina, the three-hour service includes performances from area musical groups, testimonials from Jackson fans and large screens showing the live memorial at the Raleigh Convention Center.
In Harlem, New York, the service is being shown on the Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building at 125th Street. People also are watching a CNN feed in Times Square, Manhattan.
In Detroit, Michigan, the funeral is being shown at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
In Berlin, Germany, fans are watching the live event at O2 World Arena and outside the O2 Arena in London.
Read CNN's coverage of watch parties around the globe.
Matt Szabo, Los Angeles mayor's senior press secretary, talks with CNN.com's Nicole Lapin outlines the city's plan for Jackson's funeral. Since California is steeped in a financial mess, Szabo said the mayor is asking funeral goers to contribute money to help fund the costs of the service. Szabo said he didn't know how much the memorial will cost until the end of the day but will be "millions of dollars."
Danyel Smith, former editor for Vibe magazine, reflects on the impact Jackson had on her life with CNN.com's Melissa Long. Smith said Jackson was not only a death to her family but for "everybody's" family. "I don't remember a time when Jackson wasn't on the radio," Smith said. "I don't remember an era in my life when Jackson didn't provide some soundtrack."
Outside of the Staples Center, it resembles more of a mall than a funeral as sellers hawk different things in memorializing Michael Jackson.
Vendors are selling t-shirts with the late singer’s face, buttons that say “rest in peace,” flowers, and black arm bands as a nod to Jackson’s trademark wrist band.
Since only ticket holders are only allowed near the Staples Center, where the memorial will be held, sellers are forced outside the perimeter where funeral goers are waiting.
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