Mariah Carey among Jackson memorial participants

Mon Jul 6, 2009 5:49pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Singers Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder, Usher and Lionel Richie, and Motown records founder Berry Gordy, will be among those taking part in Michael Jackson's memorial on Tuesday, the family's spokesman said.

In the first official details of the public memorial in the Staples Center arena in downtown Los Angeles, Jackson's family said civil rights leader Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III, and basketball stars Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant would also be among the participants.

The statement from the family said the list was preliminary, subject to change and that there would be no further information on the program. It was not clear whether singers like Carey and Wonder would perform at the event, which is expected to last two hours.

Lawyers for Jackson's ex-wife, Debbie Rowe, said she had decided against attending because "her attendance would be an unnecessary distraction." Rowe has not decided whether to challenge the family for custody of Jackson's three children.

Actress Elizabeth Taylor, one of Jackson's closest friends, will also be absent. Taylor said in a Twitter message on Monday that she had been asked to speak but "I cannot be part of the public whoopla. And I cannot guarantee that I would be coherent to say a word. I just don't believe that Michael would want me to share my grief with millions of others," she wrote.

About 1.6 million people registered to be among the 8,750 to receive two free tickets to the event. Successful fans lined up on Monday to collect their tickets, although some tried to auction their vouchers on websites like eBay and Craigslist.

Both websites were swiftly removing the listings, which carried asking prices of up to $10,000.

The "Thriller" singer, who died June 25 of cardiac arrest at age 50, is expected to be buried in a private family service in Los Angeles on Tuesday morning, ahead of the public memorial.   Continued...

<p>Fans of deceased pop star Michael Jackson stand in line outside Staples Center in Los Angeles, July 6, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>