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Energised and on form: images of the king of pop's final adieu released

July 3, 2009
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"Quicksilver in motion" was how one observer described Michael Jackson at his best. And in his last mesmerising performance just hours before his death the consummate showman proved that the old magic had not deserted him.

Footage taken of his last rehearsal has been released by AEG Live, the promoters of his O2 concerts. In it the star - sharply dressed in a blazer and natty red shirt - appears, at times, to quite literally float across the stage; the distinctive contralto voice is strong and full of passion as he belts out his 1996 hit They Don't Care About Us.

Even at 50 years of age and as slender and physically frail as he was in his final days, Michael makes unforgettable, 'can't take your eyes away' viewing. 

"When he hit that stage, everyone was just mesmerised," photographer Kevin Mazur told the Mirror. "He was totally there - 100 per cent there in fact". 

It's this genius President Barack Obama paid tribute to in his first televised interview about the tragedy, saying that Michael would "go down in history as one of our greatest entertainers".The US leader said he grew up listening to the Thriller artist's music, adding: “I still have all his stuff on my iPod. His brilliance was paired with a tragic and, in many ways, sad personal life,” said Mr Obama.

Fans wanting to pay their last respects have been told that a memorial service for the star will be held on Tuesday at 10 am California time (17:00 GMT). Some 11,000 free tickets will be made available for the event at Los Angeles' Staples Centre, where his last rehearsal was held.

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