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Michael's girl Paris tells the world of love for 'the best father you could ever imagine'

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Heartbroken Paris, seen here with her aunts, uncles and brothers, captured the hearts of millions around the globe with her poignant tribute to her "Daddy"
 Photo: © Getty Images

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Michael's gold-plated coffin was carried in to the front of the stage at LA's Staples Center by his siblings, eaching wearing a jewelled glove in his honour
 Photo: © Getty Images

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Jennifer Hudson's gospel rendition of Will You Be There brought the house down
 Photo: © Getty Images

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Sobs, laughs, applause and cries of 'We love you Michael' punctuated the moving hour-long memorial
 Photo: © Rex

08 JULY 2009

Watch Paris pay emotional tribute to her father

Her voice quivering with emotion, a little girl who has until now been sheltered from the public bravely took the spotlight to pay tribute to her "Daddy" Michael Jackson.

Millions around the world watched as 11-year-old Paris Jackson haltingly took the microphone at the Thriller artist's memorial concert in LA, flanked by her brothers Prince Michael I, 12, and Prince Michael II, who's seven.

Fighting back tears, comforted by her uncles and aunts, she said: "Ever since I was born, Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine. And I just wanted to say I love him so much."

The children's appearance on stage - during an all-star rendition of their dad's hit We Are The World - was the culmination of a service that was part celebration, part a portrait of a family in mourning and, most memorably, a history lesson by a succession of Motown titans.

Berry Gordy, founder of the famous Sixties record label, spoke of his first meeting with the former child prodigy.

Then ten, the boy wonder blew him away with his achingly mature rendition of Who's Lovin' You.

"He studied the greats and then became greater. He raised the bar, and then he broke the bar," he said. "It was kill or be killed. The more I talk about Michael Jackson, the more I feel 'the king of pop' is not big enough for him".

"I think he is simply the greatest entertainer that ever lived."

Later Smokey Robinson, the writer of Who's Lovin' You, joked that, unable to believe a youngster could be so gifted, he asked to see Michael's birth certificate.

Actress Brooke Shields, at times struggling to contain her emotions, remembered the friend she knew since the age of 13.

She shared her memories of giggling with the singer as they crept into Elizabeth Taylor's room on the night before the leading lady's wedding at Neverland to catch a glimpse of the dress – and finding her asleep on the bed.

Their relationship was characterised by a lot of laughs and teasing she told the 17,000-strong audience of fans. "What's up with the glove?" she once ribbed him.

Another speaker, sports hero Magic Johnson had the crowd creasing up as he recalled being served grilled chicken by Michael's personal chef, while the star himself ate Kentucky Fried Chicken.

"That was the greatest moment of my life", he chuckled.

The musical performances by some of the best in the business were, as was only fitting, unforgettable. Mariah Carey kicked off the concert in moving style with I'll Be There, her 1992 cover of one of the artist's tunes.

Another spine-tingling moment came courtesy of Jennifer Hudson, now pregnant with her first child. Looking radiant her bump shown off in a stunning white dress, the Oscar-winner brought the house down with her gospel rendition of Will You Be There.

Usher crooned Gone Too Soon, while Stevie Wonder sang: Never Dreamed You’d Leave In Summer. "This is a moment that I wish I didn’t live to see coming," he said. 

Other performers included Lionel Richie, Britain's Got Talent sensation Shaheen Jafargholi and Jennifer Aniston's ex John Mayer playing another Michael hit Human Nature.

Earlier 200 family and friends said farewell intimate service at Forest Lawn Cemetery in the Hollywood Hills, in accordance with their Jehovah's Witness faith.

Then highways were closed as the golden casket was conveyed to the Staples Center. Adorned with red flowers, the coffin was borne into the auditorium at the start of the memorial by Michael's brothers, wearing one jewelled glove.

For the children the day had begun in a light-hearted way with a game of water pistols at the family compound. Then their grandmother dressed them in sombre black outfits, telling them: "Today we say goodbye to Daddy".

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