Michael Jackson‘s loved ones gathered around his open casket in an emotional private memorial the night before the late icon’s star-studded service on Tuesday.
Relatives, excluding Jackson’s parents Joe and Katherine, gathered at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills on Monday night to take one last look at the King of Pop resting in his gold casket.
Jackson’s cousin David Fossett tells People.com, “He looked like himself. He looked like he just was laying there sleeping. He looked peaceful.
“It was a somber mood. Even though he’s this big entertainer, he’s still our family.”
Fossett recalled fond family memories of his cousin, including the time when the Jackson 5 returned to their native Gary, Indiana, to play for students at a local high school.
The next day, before Jackson’s televised public memorial at Los Angeles’ Staples Center, the family returned to Forest Lawn for a private 40-minute service.
The star’s children, Prince Michael, 12, Paris, 11, and Prince Michael II, 7, cried and held each other’s hands as biblical passages were read aloud, according to Fossett, 50.
He adds, “They lost their father. They were sad. But the kids were comforting each other, and in turn were being supported by family. All of us were comforting each other.”
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