Michael Jackson's funeral is likely to be the biggest in entertainment history, drawing tens of thousands of mourners and hundreds of millions of TV viewers.
It is expected to eclipse that of Elvis Presley in 1977, at which 75,000 fans lined the streets of Memphis, and could rival Princess Diana's 12 years ago, when 250,000 gathered in Hyde Park.
Even the funeral of silent film star Rudolph Valentino in New York in 1926 drew 40,000 fans.
Celebrity mourners at Jackson's service could include showbiz legends such as Sir Paul McCartney, who sang with him, and Elizabeth Taylor.
Even if his family insists on a private ceremony, it will be almost impossible to keep fans away.
Jackson was raised a Jehovah's Witness, forbidden from following funeral customs that are not mentioned in the Bible.
But there was speculation last year that Jackson had secretly converted to Islam.
When his death was confirmed by his brother Jermaine, who became a Muslim 20 years ago, he said: "May Allah be with you, Michael."
Though Jackson did not admit embracing Islam, he moved to Dubai after he was cleared of child abuse in 2005, and was linked to the American black Muslim organisation Nation of Islam, which provided security for him at his trial.
If a Muslim funeral takes place, the body is usually buried within two days of death.
However, it emerged last night that his body may not be buried at all, but could be preserved for ever in his famous moonwalk stance.
The claim was made by German doctor Gunther von Hagens. He said he had agreed with representatives of Jackson's family “months ago” that his body would be plastinated and placed next to the singer's late chimp Bubbles, who was preserved after his death and is on display in the show at the O2 arena.
A spokesman for Dr von Hagens said it was one of Jackson's last wishes to be reunited with Bubbles. While von Hagens is keen to keep the pose of the superstar's plastinate under wraps, he hinted that the moonwalk position would naturally be favoured.
It is hoped the exhibit will be unveiled towards the end of July for fans to visit and pay respects.