Thousands of fans gathered on Tuesday night in Apollo Theater in New York City to pay their last tributes to the King of Pop Michael Jackson where he performed as a child.
A line stretched for several city blocks from the theater with fans chanting Jackson's name to passing tourist buses and singing his songs as they waited to see a 45-minute music and video tribute being repeated throughout the day.
He was my first love, said Wilma McClelland, 48, from the Queens borough of New York, as she waited in line. We have grown up with him.
He's bad, he's our brother, he's our friend, said Al Sharpton, civil rights campaigner and friend of Jackson, told the first audience inside the theater. Let's love Michael today.
Michael was a genius, he lived extraordinarily, and we love him with an extraordinary passion, Sharpton said.
No matter all of the trials and tribulations he went through, I still love him regardless, said Barbara Brown, 46, a security guard from the Bronx. Michael is a part of my household, that's my baby. He will always be in my heart.
Michael Jackson who died on June 18 from cardiac arrest at his rented Los Angeles home, first performed at the Apollo Amateur Night at age 9 with his brothers.
Their group, The Jackson 5, won a competition at the Apollo in 1969 when the pop singer was 11 years old, performing Smokey Robinson's Who's Lovin' You.
He returned to the Apollo in 2002 for a Democratic National Committee fundraiser, invited by former President Bill Clinton.