Michael Jackson's Neverland shrine
Jun 29, 2009, 9:14 GMT
Michael Jackson\'s former home could be turned into a shrine to the late star.EPA/ARMANDO ARORIYO
Michael Jackson's former home could be turned into a shrine to the late star.
The 'Thriller' singer - who died of a suspected cardiac arrest on Thursday (25.06.09) - reportedly told friends he wanted to be buried at the Neverland ranch so fans would always be able to pay their respects to him.
If Michael's wish is granted, it is thought Neverland - which the father-of-three was forced to sell in 2005 after facing financial ruin following his child molestation court case - could become one of the biggest tourist destinations in the world, eclipsing Graceland, the Memphis home where Elvis Presley is buried.
A source said: "Michael wanted Neverland to be his final resting place but wasn't sure the authorities would give permission.
"It would give fans a place to focus on and a place to visit. Neverland would become a place of pilgrimage. It would also leave his heirs a legacy which could be worth billions."
Even if Michael's family decide not to bury the 50-year-old star there, they could turn Neverland into a tourist centre so fans can still visit.
Mark Sutherland, Global Editor of Billboard Magazine, said: "If they develop Neverland as a tourist centre that will open up a whole other world of revenue. The licensing possibilities are enormous."
Meanwhile, Michael's former best friend, chimpanzee Bubbles, is set to be the subject of a new movie.
The 26-year-old animal lived with Michael from 1985 to 1997 and his owner Bob Dunn claims a big-money deal is "on the table".
Bob said: "There's a lot of interest. Bubbles has led an interesting life. There's lots to say."
Michael moved Bubbles - who used to be dressed in matching outfits to his owner - to an animal sanctuary after he became too aggressive.