Hundreds of inmates in a Philippines prison honored the late pop icon Michael Jackson the way they've always celebrated his music, officials said, by dancing.
During the past two years, the more than 1,000 prisoners of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center have routinely danced in unison to Jackson's "Thriller" album. The spectacle of the orange uniform-clad men's synchronized dancing not only attracted hundreds of curiosity-seekers to the prison but a video of it became an Internet sensation. The 4-minute video clip attracted 23 million views after being posted in 2007.
"He is like the God to them. It is Michael's music that gives them international recognition," Byron Garcia, a security consultant at the prison told Xinhua inside the sprawling jail.
After Jackson died Thursday, the prisoners decided to perform to four Jackson songs in a row as a final tribute.
The 1,581 inmates, serving sentences up to 10 years for murder, rape and drug crimes, Saturday danced to an audience of about 500 visitors and journalists, the Chinese news service reported.
"I am really sad, because Michael Jackson is my idol," said an inmate officials identified as one of the primary dance coaches. "Filipinos are so Westernized and that's why lots of us loved Michael."
Jackson performed in Manila in December 1996.
I'm always amazing how co-ordinated the dancing is. I remember watching the Thiller one and it was great! Here's the newest one.
Inmates singing "We are the World". I think I've seen everything now :)