4 Jul 2009

Free memorial service for Jackson in Los Angeles

3:27 pm on 4 July 2009

Michael Jackson's family has announced a free memorial service for the late pop star at the Staples Centre arena in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Some 11,000 tickets will be distributed free of charge for the event which would take place at 10am local time, a public relations firm representing the family said.

Jackson, 50, collapsed and died after suffering heart failure at his home in Los Angeles on 25 June.

Hours earlier, the singer was rehearsing for a comeback tour, including 50 concerts in London in July.

AEG, the promoters of the London concerts, was arranging the memorial service.

The family earlier quashed talk of a memorial service at Neverland, Jackson's sprawling fantasy ranch north of Los Angeles.

A service at Neverland would have caused logistical headaches if thousands of people descended on the isolated grounds on short notice. Laws also restrict the burial of people on residential property.

Meanwhile, footage of Jackson on stage days before he died has been released.

Film of the star recorded on 23 June - two days before his death - shows him rehearsing a routine at the Staples Center.

Former wife 'undecided' over custody

Jackson's former wife Debbie Rowe is undecided over whether to fight for custody of their two children, her lawyer has said.

Her lawyer issued the statement after media reports that Ms Rowe had vowed to fight for custody of the two children she had with the late pop icon.

"I want my children," Ms Rowe said in an interview with the NBC TV network.

Ms Rowe is the mother of Prince Michael, 12, and Paris Michael Katherine, 11. A third child, Prince Michael II, aged 7, has a surrogate mother whose identity is not known.

The singer's mother, Katherine Jackson, has been granted temporary custody of the children.