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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Michael Jackson's funeral to be held at Neverland Ranch

Michael Jackson's family intend to hold the star's funeral at his Neverland Ranch at the weekend, according to reports, raising the prospect that the Peter Pan retreat could become his final resting place.

Neverland:Singer's body will return to the fantasy home he created in the hill above HollywoodPhoto: EPA

A motorcade of around 30 cars will escort the body to the King of Pop's 2,600-acre California estate on Thursday, a monument to his obsession with childhood that once had a private zoo and amusement park.

It is understood there will be a public viewing of the singer, possibly on Friday or Saturday, which is expected to draw fans from all over the world to the isolated retreat north of Los Angeles.

The memorial event could be an indication that the Jackson family has permanent plans for Neverland.

Some fans say the star should be buried at the ranch and want it to be transformed into a memorial, similar to Elvis Presley's Graceland.

More than one million people are expected to pay homage to the King of Pop at his funeral, an event which could dwarf the memorial services held for Presley in 1977 and Diana 20 years later, according to experts.

The US television network CNN has reported that there will be a private service for the family on Sunday.

However, the star's father Joe Jackson had previously said the funeral will not be closed to the public, suggesting there will be a second service.

A memorial service will also be held at Jackson's birthplace of Gary, Indiana, on July 10.

Lalosa Burns, spokeswoman for Gary Mayor Rudy Clay, said the service would take place at US Steel Works sports stadium, and that more details would follow.

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