By Jay Gray
LOS ANGELES, CA (NBC) - A long day of goodbyes to the King of Pop began at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills. Michael Jackson's family, including his three young children, were joined by a small group of friends for a quiet, private service.
The private mourning soon turned very public. A 30-vehicle motorcade, including a hearse carrying Jackson's casket, wound through Los Angeles to the Staples Center, where a quiet and respectful crowd waited.
Fans both ordinary and famous gathered together for Jackson's final curtain call.
To the strains of an old gospel standard, the King of Pop was moved to a place he was so familiar with in life, and perhaps most comfortable: center stage.
The reverence of a church service gave way to a concert and video tribute. Those closest to him say it's exactly what the consummate showman would have wanted.
"He simply was the greatest entertainer that ever lived," said Motown founder Berry Gordy.
Jackson's brother Jermaine joining the tribute with an emotional and heartfelt performance of one of Jackson's favorite songs, "Smile Though Your Heart is Breaking".