The public memorial service of Michael Jackson began at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the Staples Center Los Angeles after Jackson's family and closest friends attended a gathering at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills on Tuesday morning.

The King of Pop's golden casket has been transported to the Staples Center covered in red flowers by seven men from Forest Lawn's Hall of Liberty.

The casket was placed in the stage at the Staples Center which resembled a church sanctuary with a stain-glassed backdrop as the Andrae Crouch choir sang Soon and Very Soon.

It wouldn't be fair for the fans who are going to appear and be here at the Staples Center not to see his casket, said Teddy Riley, a singer who worked closely with Jackson on several albums.

Mariah Carey was joined by Trey Lorenz singing The Jackson 5's 1970 hit I'll Be there as a montage of Jackson photographs appeared on arena screens.

Queen Latifah said Michael was the biggest star on earth. And Lionel Richie then performed the song Jesus is Love.

Smokey Robinson read personal messages from several of Jackson's celebrity friends who could not attend at the start of the service.

Michael was a personal love of mine, a treasured part of my life, part of the fabric of my life, and the way that I can't seem to find words to express Diana Ross said in a message read by Smokey Robinson.

Robinson also read a message from Nelson Mandela, saying they had grown close after trips and performances in South Africa.

We had great admiration for his talent and that he was able to triumph over tragedy on so many occasions in his life. Michael was a giant and a legend in the music industry. And we mourn with the millions of fans worldwide, Robinson said, relaying Mandela's message.

Michael Jackson's family and friends were sitting at the chapel of the Staples Center which can hold about 1,000 people to celebrate Michael's memorial service.

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