Michael Jackson: Fans gather outside pop singer's home [Updated]
About a dozen reporters and photographers were gathered outside Michael Jackson’s rented Bel-Air home this afternoon as a news helicopter hovered above. Several tourist vans also stopped by the house just off Sunset Boulevard as tourists snapped photos of the large, black wrought-iron gates adorned with two large wreaths decorated with red ribbons.
Tourist Sue Mossell, 46, and her two sons, Ryan, 7, and Jimmy, 12, who were visiting from Georgia, were among those milling outside the house, which was blocked from view by trees and shrubbery. Mossell said the family was on a star tour the day before that included the Jackson house and decided to drive back this afternoon after hearing the news.
“I was in shock,” she said. “I mean, who hasn’t heard of Michael Jackson? I think we’re going to hear a lot more of his songs.”
Another tourist, Angelina Winkvist, 28, who was visiting from Sweden, said she also took a tour a day earlier that stopped by the Jackson house and rushed back today after hearing that Jackson had been taken to the hospital.
“It’s huge,” Winkvist said of Jackson’s death. “He’s one of the biggest stars in the world.”
A neighbor, Roxana Radnia, 21, said she had no idea the pop star was living at the house. She said she always saw cars parked out front and had worried about possible drug activity. Radnia said she was walking her dog, Maddie, about 1 p.m. today and saw three ambulances outside the house and a lot of commotion.
“I didn’t know what was going on,” she said. She said she was a big fan of Jackson and his music and had been looking forward to his comeback tour.
“He’s amazing,” she said. “I can’t believe this happened.”
[Updated at 4:35 p.m.: Karina LeBlanc, 29, a member of the Los Angeles soccer team Sol, who lives a block from Jackson’s Bel-Air house, said she drives by every day on her way to practice.
She said she saw Jackson once as he and his entourage were arriving at the house. LeBlanc said she heard helicopters hovering above the neighborhood this afternoon and turned on her TV to find out what was going on.
She said she was deeply saddened by the news. She said her soccer team always listened to his music before a game, particularly the song “Man in the Mirror.”
“He’s got the beat,” she said. “His music is so riveting and inspiring.”
She said the news was especially distressing because Jackson had gone through such a tough time in recent years. Still, it was hard to believe that he was dead, she said.]
-- Anna Gorman in Bel-Air