TEARS flowed outside a Los Angeles hospital as hundreds of Michael Jackson fans gathered to mourn the loss of the music legend, stunned by his sudden death at the age of 50.
”Right today I can’t believe we might have lost the best entertainer this world has ever seen,” sobbed Lana Brown, 49, from Dallas, overcome with emotion as she struggled to come to terms with the news.
Brown, who described herself “as the biggest Jackson fan ever” was on holiday with her family in Los Angeles when her friend phoned to tell her that Jackson had collapsed and was being treated at the UCLA hospital.
Like hundreds of others, she made her way to the hospital, hoping against hope that Jackson, whose music and dance thrilled generations of fans, would pull through.
”I left my office. Everyone should. It’s so shocking. Because you think someone like Michael Jackson will live forever, like Peter Pan,” Yoshiko Plair, clasping a sunflower for her icon, said.
The 49-year-old real estate agent heard the news, like so many others, via a text message on her phone when she was in the bank.
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Dropping her business, she rushed home, put on her Thriller T-shirt and hustled her sister and two children to the hospital to stand vigil.
”He changed music, he’s the reason all that black music is on MTV now,” Plair said.
”I followed him from that first song. I’m going to mourn him today and probably for the rest of my life.”
She added she was going to stay until the hospital officially announced Jackson’s death. “I want to hear with my own ears, I can’t believe it until I hear it myself.”
Student Ashley Leon, 20, also decided to come after hearing of the news of Jackson’s collapse.
”I called my room mate who is the extreme Michael Jackson fan because, you know, this is one of the biggest things we’ll live through in our lives. We all grew up with his music.”
The crowd swelled through the afternoon in the bright summer sunshine waiting for news of their hero.
And most of them brushed off the past scandals that had blighted Jackson’s life, after he was charged with and then acquitted of child-molestation.
”You know Michael Jackson has his stuff going on. You knew he’s crazy. But he’s Michael Jackson,” said Leon.
While Brown was more emphatic saying: “All of that did not matter to me because I knew it wasn’t true.”