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Swiss village unveils giant plastic Michael Jackson statue

Zurich — A giant plastic statue of Michael Jackson has been unveiled in a village near the Swiss city of Zurich, ahead of a ceremony to pay homage to the late pop icon, an organiser said Friday.

The 12-metre (39 feet), four-tonne grey statue of the self-proclaimed King of Pop, with contrasting gold-coloured belts and straps, was installed on a lawn in the middle of Regensdorf.

"There are just 19 of them in the world and two in Europe," Andreas Grassman, who is organising the event, told AFP.

"We are organising a big party tonight and during the weekend to celebrate" the singer, he said.

The Swiss entrepreneur, who described himself as a big fan of Jackson, explained that that one of his friends had obtained the statue from Sony Music and used it on fairgrounds.

"We have spent the last five days restoring it completely," he added.

The organisers, who are expecting tens of thousands of fans, are preparing to sell roses and candles at the event.

They are also opening a book of condolence for visitors to sign.

"The event will be completely free and of course we will listen to Michael Jackson’s music," Gassmann added.

Jackson collapsed and died in California at age 50 on June 25 as he prepared for a 50-date concert set in London.