Two of his children are remembering Jackson in his home town of Gary.
Prince and Paris Jackson appeared at a news conference at the Majestic Star Casino. Gary's mayor, Karen Freeman-Wilson, gave them t-shirts and buttons in an effort to promote the town as Jackson's home.
"This is all about a celebration of your dad," Freeman-Wilson said, "but we just want you to know how much he meant to each and every one of us."
Among the many events planned for Jackson's birthday: an exhibit of Jackson's family photos now on display. Photos from Thriller and TV specials are among those on display.
A vigil is planned for Wednesday night at Jackson's boyhood home.