Jackson close friends Ross, Taylor skip memorial

By AFP

June 18, 2010 Updated Jul 7, 2009 at 3:12 PM EST

Some of Michael Jackson's closest friends including Diana Ross, Elizabeth Taylor and Quincy Jones, skipped the King of Pop's public memorial in Los Angeles Tuesday.

Ross, who was named in Jackson's will as an alternative guardian of his children should his mother die or be unable to care for them, sent a message to the millions of fans gathered at the Staples Center and tuning in around the world to watch the star-studded tribute.

"I've decided to pause and be silent. This feels right for me," Ross said in a statement read by fellow music legend Smokey Robinson.

"Michael was a personal love of mine, a treasured part of my world, part of the fabric of my life," the soul singer said in the statement in which she thanked his family for sharing Michael "with the world and with me."

"Michael wanted me to be there for his children, and I will be there if they ever need me," Ross said.

"I hope today brings closure for all those who loved him."

Screen siren Elizabeth Taylor shared her grief in messages on the Twitter micro-blogging service.

"I just don't believe that Michael would want me to share my grief with millions of others. How I feel is between us. Not a public event," the former screen siren said in a message on the Twitter.

"I cannot be part of the public hoopla. And I cannot guarantee that I would be coherent to say a word," Taylor wrote in her "tweet."

A representative for Taylor contacted by AFP confirmed that the messages were authentic. Taylor has written over a dozen tweets about Jackson since his untimely death.

"My heart... my mind... are broken. I loved Michael with all my soul and I can't imagine life without him," she wrote in her first note at 3:57 pm on June 26.

"I don't think anyone knew how much we loved each other. The purest most giving love I've ever known. Oh god! I'm going to miss him," she wrote a few minutes later.

"It can't be so. He will live in my heart forever but it's not enough. My life feels so empty."

A week later, Taylor attacked the "cheaper 'rags'" for writing that she was on suicide watch, tweeting that while her grief over Michael could not be any deeper" she is "a survivor not only for myself, but for my family and for Michael too."

Late Monday, Taylor wrote that while she was invited to speak at the Staples Center, she does not want to be a part of the public event because "I love him too much."

In her final tweet on the topic, Taylor sent her love to Jackson's mother Katherine and his "beloved children."

Music magnate Quincy Jones, who produced Jackson's best-selling "Thriller" album and also worked on "Bad" and "Off the Wall," was in the Czech Republic attending a charity evening organized on the fringes of the Karlovy Vary film festival.




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