AFP

LOS ANGELES

Michael Jackson fans will place flowers on his grave in Los Angeles this week to mark the fifth anniversary of his death, but half a decade on, the pop icon’s financial fortunes are positively blooming.

The self-proclaimed King of Pop was struggling to avoid bankruptcy when he died on June 25, 2009. At the time, he was in rehearsals for a series of comeback shows he hoped would resurrect his earlier jaw-dropping wealth. But in five years since, the Michael Jackson Estate - which runs his affairs on behalf of Jackson’s mother and three children - has earned over $700 million, according to a new book about the singer’s business empire.

‘Michael Jackson is making more money now, five years after his death, than he had been since the prime of his career,’ Zack Greenburg, author of ‘Michael Jackson Inc.,’ told AFP.

Die-hard Jackson fans staged a flash mob Sunday ahead of Wednesday’s anniversary - when more are expected to pay their respects at the Forest Lawn cemetery just outside Los Angeles, where the pop megastar is buried.  While the business side is going well and fans are celebrating his legacy, it’s been a tough few years for his family - both through losing Jackson himself, and because of the frenzy of legal action unleashed by his shock death.

One of the biggest was the criminal trial of Conrad Murray, the doctor who, while treating Jackson for insomnia, gave him the clinical anesthetic propofol that killed him at his Holmby Hills mansion five years ago. Murray was eventually convicted of involuntary manslaughter and jailed for four years. He was released last October after two years behind bars.

Then came the civil trial brought by Jackson’s aging mother Katherine, who sued tour promoters AEG Live claiming they negligently hired an incompetent doctor and drove her son to his death. A jury threw out her claims. But while the family came to grips with their loss, the Michael Jackson Estate, led by executors John Branca and John McClain, got straight down to business five years ago.