Jackson fans worldwide say farewell to star online

SAN FRANCISCO: Millions of Michael Jackson fans from around the world flocked online to celebrate the King of Pop's life and mourn his death in an unprecedented, interactive global farewell.

Even before Jackson's shimmering gold casket made it to downtown Los Angeles for his memorial, legions of his fans worldwide from New York city street corners and Tokyo bars to remote villages in Kenya were watching live coverage streamed online at myriad websites.

Messages in an array of languages were fired off to Jackson memorial forums at Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and online haunts where video or news of the event were shared.

Live online video event specialty firm Ustream reported hosting nearly 4.6 million streams of Jackson memorial service coverage to the star's fans worldwide to meet demand unprecedented at the firm.

Mountains of Jackson memories are posted at an official Sony Music website in tribute to the sequine-gloved entertainer.

"Rest in peace now Michael I'm glad you went out a record breaker, a hero, and a fantastic performer the world will never be the same without," said a message signed with the name James Cleave.

"As a kid I used to dance to your music from your 'Bad' album on my parents' LP player and everyone knew me to be one of your biggest fans on the island of Cyprus."

A posting from Swee Kim recounted being only 10 years old when seeing Jackson perform in Brunei in 1996.

"I will always remember this moment and will always remember you," Kim wrote. "No one else can ever take your place. You're the one and only King of Pop."

Comments, condolences, and memories from Facebook users scrolled rapid-fire in a constantly updated chat box posted next to a CNN Live stream of memorial proceedings.

Facebook said that about a million members worldwide weighed in online with comments while watching live online video of Jackson's memorial.

Facebook users were at times firing off 6,000 comments per minute as they watched memorial video at CNN Live.

"The 6,000 is just for CNN Live," said Facebook marketing directory Randi Zuckerberg. "It is significantly higher than that when you factor in E! Online, ABC, and MTV which each have their own Facebook Connect implementations."

"The most interesting thing is how many people are writing in internationally," Zuckerberg said, referring to Facebook updates from Switzerland, Israel, Britain and Barbados posted just seconds earlier.

"The Jackson memorial seems to have a huge international presence."

Jackson was also crowned the most popular celebrity at Facebook, with more than seven million fans at an official profile page and another four million fans signed onto unofficial pages dedicated to the music icon.

Scant criticism of Jackson or the attention being given his death were quickly shot down with scoldings such as "If you have nothing good to say, stay off the website."

One fan, Carolina Crespo who indicated she was from Malaysia, expressed "hopes that those true MJ fans will pay attention to themselves, Man In the Mirror, and make a change," referring to a Jackson hit about how bettering the world starts with self-improvement.

"We can get somewhere if we change for the better," she wrote.

Jackson news was the lead topic at hot microblogging service Twitter as well.

A user with screen name "rippleintime17" sent a Twitter message commenting on the showing of the Jackson memorial on a colossal outdoor screen in Times Square in New York city.

"Tourists are plopped on lawn chairs watching it," the message said. "Kinda cool/living room-esque."

Online video news traffic in the United States, Europe, and other regions across the globe climbed above normal during the memorial, according to Akamai Technologies which specializes in delivering data online.

At times nearly four million people a minute were watching the streamed event, said Akamai. MySpace partnered with Akamai and AEG to stream memorial video to its members.

"I am watching this in the remote village of Kanyuambora, Kenya," wrote a Facebook user with a screen name 'Bmj Muriithi.'

"I marvel at technological advancement. Never thought this would be possible in my lifetime."