Michael Jackson fans still mourning King Of Pop decade after his death

Michael Jackson fans say they are still mourning the King Of Pop a decade after his death and their love for the star has not been diminished by resurfaced allegations of child sexual abuse.

Jackson, one of the most influential musicians ever thanks to his groundbreaking albums and revolutionary live performances, died on June 25 2009 aged 50 after suffering a cardiac arrest.

He remains hugely popular, despite the release of HBO documentary Leaving Neverland earlier this year which featured interviews with two men who alleged they were abused by Jackson as children.

Michael Jackson Anniversary-Then And Now
Michael Jackson Anniversary-Then And Now

Jackson vehemently denied all allegations and his estate has dismissed the film as an attempt to cash in on the singer’s legacy.

His star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame still attracts a steady stream of tourists and on the eve of the anniversary of his death fans were lining up to have their picture taken with it.

Self-confessed super fan Jolanda West flew to Los Angeles from Michigan especially for the anniversary.

The 51-year-old has been a fan of since she was a child, when a young Michael was performing with his brothers as the Jackson 5.

Michael Jackson Anniversary Popularity
Michael Jackson Anniversary Popularity

Ms West said she vividly recalls the day the singer died, describing it as the worst day of her life.

She told the Press Association: “It’s been a really long time. It doesn’t seem like it was yesterday, it seems like a very long time of suffering. But he’s free now.

“That day is the worst day of my life.”

Ms West said the allegations raised in Leaving Neverland had not affected her love for Jackson, pointing to the fact he was never convicted of any offence.

Michael Jackson Anniversary-Then And Now
Michael Jackson Anniversary-Then And Now

She said: “It pisses me off because he went to trial and he was found innocent. HBO is not a court of law. How dare people judge and convict him from what they saw in an interview that could have been 10 years in the making, who knows? They could be acting for all I care.”

Latara Deshazior, 34, is from Miami. She has been a Jackson fan for as long as she can remember, and said: “I grew up on Thriller, I grew up on Billie Jean, that’s what made me love him as an artist.”

Ms Deshazior, a mother of two boys, said she cried when Jackson died and admitted Leaving Neverland made her reevaluate the singer, but added: “People do make mistakes.”

Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson

Asked if she ever considered boycotting Jackson’s music, she said: “When I first heard about the allegations, yes, but if you’re really a true Michael Jackson fan, you look past that.

“Because his music takes you and lifts you and pushes you to another area of life where something so small definitely doesn’t take away all that he has done for this world.”

Natali Benavides, 27,from Michigan, said she had been a Jackson fan since she was 15.

She said: “We should just not pay attention to the bad things. He’s a good person overall. I would just say look at the positive side, never the negative.”

Gregg Donovan, a prominent Hollywood tour guide and regular fixture on the Walk Of Fame, said he felt “horrible” after hearing the allegations.

Mr Donovan said he is often asked by families where Jackson’s star is but in light of the allegations, “I kind of hold back. I don’t know if I want to”.