Anniversary of Jackson death seen passing quietly
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Michael Jackson's mother said she hopes the world will continue to remember the "Thriller" singer, as fans waited on Monday to hear if they will be able to mark the first anniversary of his death by visiting the cemetery where is buried.
The Los Angeles-area Forest Lawn cemetery said it hoped to announce plans later on Monday for possible visits to the site. Media reports earlier this month said discussions were underway that could give fans limited access over the weekend.
As the June 25 date approaches, Jackson's immediate family is expected to mark the event privately.
But a year after Jackson's sudden death, which occurred only days before a planned series of comeback concerts in London, his music legacy seems secure.
Music magazine Billboard estimated Jackson's estate has generated at least $1 billion in revenues in the past year, mostly through record sales, the "This Is It" concert movie, licensing rights, deals to release new albums and a Cirque du Soleil stage show in Las Vegas.
The Wall Street Journal said on Monday the executors of Jackson's estate had paid off nearly $200 million of the $500 million debt the singer had left when he died aged 50 at his Los Angeles home.
Friday's anniversary is expected to be low-key.
MOURNING IN PRIVATE
Celebrity news website TMZ.com said Katherine Jackson, 80, and Michael's children Prince Michael, 13, Paris, 12, and Prince Michael II, 8, (also known as Blanket) were expected to observe the day privately in the Jackson family's hometown of Gary, Indiana.
Jackson's personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, who is awaiting trial on a criminal charge that he is responsible for the King of Pop's death by administering a powerful anesthetic to help him sleep, will be mourning privately.
"He doesn't want to distract people by reminding them of Michael's death. He'd rather people remember his friend, Michael Jackson, as he was in life," a spokeswoman for Murray's lawyer, Ed Chernoff, said on Monday.
Katherine Jackson is self-publishing a book this week of family photographs so Jackson can "be remembered as the loving person he was."
"I love looking at photos of my children singing and dancing together, when they looked happy. Not a day goes by when I don't think of Michael," she was quoted as telling Britain's Mail on Sunday newspaper in an interview.
"I hope people continue to remember Michael and keep celebrating his legacy. I hope that things get better for me in time. His death has already brought the family closer together. I want us to be more close," she said.
The matriarch of the singing siblings, who is now raising Prince, Paris and Blanket, said the three children would be going to school in September for the first time.
Until now, they have been taught at home and have largely been kept out of the public eye in line with Jackson's wishes.
But Katherine Jackson said she was a little less strict with her grandchildren. "They don't have friends. They don't go to school. They have private lessons at home. They'll be going to a private school in September for the first time," she told the Mail on Sunday.
(Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)