Michael Jackson's death: Day of mourning for King of Pop [Updated]
Hundreds of fans are gathering this morning at Michael Jackson's star on Hollywood Boulevard and at the Jackson family home in Encino to mourn the death of the King of Pop.
Today at 9 a.m., flowers will be placed at Jackson's star by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.
At 6 a.m., about a half-dozen fans sat outside the Encino house, where the planter out front was filled with dozens of bouquets of roses, daisies and sunflowers. Handmade posters were taped to a brick wall. Many read: "We love you Michael."
Envelopes and cards addressed to the family were placed among the flowers, and small candles on the ground were shaped into an M and J.
The scene was played out throughout the night in various locations throughout Los Angeles. Over at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Westwood, where Jackson was first taken after he went into cardiac arrest, a few hundred people sang and held signs Thursday night. Among them was Zai Bryant of Inglewood.
"I came because no one around me felt my pain," said Bryant, a customer service representative who lives in Inglewood. "I said, 'You know what -- those people at UCLA, they feel my pain. I need to be among fans who know what I'm going through.'"
It was a family affair for others. Henry Barravino, 46, took his teenage daughter, Lemyza, and his 13-year-old son, Ivan, all of whom grew up on Michael Jackson music.
"It's an honor to say goodbye," Henry said. "I grew up with his music."
In Encino on Thursday night, Wilbert "Chico" Ross, Diana Ross' brother, said that when the Jacksons first moved to Los Angeles, they lived with his family for about a month because they didn't have any other place to go.
[Updated at 9:35 a.m.: A previous version of this post misidentified Wilbert Ross as Diana Ross' son.]
"I'm a Motown brat," Ross said. "We were all family."
He stopped by the Jackson residence to pay his respects but left his identification in the car, so he couldn't get through the gate. Ross said Jackson's death is like losing a brother.
"I cried when I first heard," he said. "I'm still crying."
He said he has many memories of Jackson, with whom he grew up.
"We were little kids together," he said. Aside from playing sports, such as baseball and basketball, with the Jackson crew, he said they'd all have sleepovers. Ross, who is three years older than Jackson, said he would pick him up from school, since he got out earlier than Jackson.
"I'm probably his oldest friend," he said.
Ross said Jackson had a gentle spirit.
"I'm just sad," he said. "It's a sad day for America."
He said Jackson was unfairly persecuted by some, and Ross said he never believed the claims of misdeeds.
"As you get older, you realize your friends. ... They die, they leave you."
-- Nicole Santa Cruz in Encino and Carla Hall in Westwood
Photo: Charley Gallay / Getty Images