Michael Jackson’s children celebrate his 54th birthday in his hometown
If things had been different Paris Jackson and her siblings would have spent today helping their beloved father celebrate his 54th birthday.
But three years on from Michael Jackson’s tragic death they instead remembered him with a trip to his hometown of Gary, Indiana.
Paris tweeted a picture of herself next to one of her father, writing: ‘Happy birthday daddy. I love you with all my heart, always and forever<33.’
Vigil: Blanket, Prince and Paris joined their extended family for the four-day celebration
Paris spent the day with her brothers Prince, 15, and Blanket, 10, on a family trip to the music legend’s boyhood home in Gary, Indiana.
They were joined there by their aunt La Toya Jackson and the trio’s co-guardians, grandmother Katherine Jackson and their cousin TJ Jackson.
A candlelight tribute to the Beat It hitmaker – who died in June 2009 aged 50 – was held outside his boyhood home later in the day at 2300 Jackson Street.
Fans danced to Jackson’s music prior to the arrival of his children and mother at the house where the King of Pop, his siblings and their parents lived until 1969.
In the days after Jackson’s death in 2009, the singer’s admirers piled stuffed animals, flowers and photos outside the tiny home.
Among those at the Wednesday night vigil was Andrei Tejada, 32, a Chicago veterinary technician student who said she was pleased that Jackson’s relatives were attending the event.
Other planned events include a baseball game at the home of Indiana’s Gary SouthShore RailCats tomorrow, where Michael’s children are expected to throw the first pitch and receive honourary team kits.
Karen Freeman-Wilson, the Mayor of Gary, will host a special dinner on Friday to commemorate the life of the King of Pop as well as honour Michael’s mother Katherine, and a tribute concert will take place on Saturday at the local West Side Theatre Guild.
Aside from two concerts the Jackson 5 played at West Side High School in 1971, the only time the singer returned to his hometown was in 2003, when plans for a Michael Jackson Performing Arts Center in the city’s downtown were announced. It was never built.
‘Gary, you are family, you always will be, I love you,’ Jackson said at the time.
Michael died from acute Propofol intoxication in June 2009, and his personal physician Dr. Conrad Murray is currently serving a jail sentence for the singer’s involuntary manslaughter.
Elsewhere Jackson was remembered with a concert at Gotham Hall in New York.
The Summer Beats concert was attended by stars including Swizz Beatz, DJ Cassidy, and Ne-Yo.
Honouring Jackson: Melanie Fiona and Adrienne Bailon were among the guests at the Jacko tribute
Michael Jackson fans flock to Gary: ‘This is where it all began’
The crowd of Michael Jackson fans began forming Wednesday morning outside the tiny Gary, Ind., home where the King of Pop was born 54 years ago, an annual vigil that has grown each year since the entertainer’s death three years ago.
By Wednesday night a throng of several hundred milled in front of a temporary stage at 2300 Jackson St., peering into the fenced yard at distant Jackson relatives and intimates on the lawn.
“This is where it all began,” said Carlo Riley, a Jackson devotee from Denver who wore a futuristic, military-style uniform that mimicked Jackson’s late-1980s “Bad” fashion sensibility. “I’m actually surprised there are not more people here. If this were Germany, or anywhere else in the world, people would have been camped out here for days.”