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Rolling Stones, DiCaprio to join N.Y. Sandy benefit concert

(Reuters) - Legendary rock band The Rolling Stones, "Twilight" star Kristen Stewart and actor Leonardo DiCaprio have joined the line-up for a fundraising concert in New York next week for victims of Hurricane Sandy, organizers said on Friday.

The Stones, who last week launched a five-concert celebration of their 50th anniversary as a band, will take the stage with previously announced stars Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Kanye West, Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, The Who and others at the December 12 concert in New York City's Madison Square Garden.

Another 18 celebrities, including Billy Crystal, Chelsea Clinton, Quentin Tarantino, and Jon Stewart will take part either on stage or in a live telethon, the organizers said in a statement.

The concert, which is already sold out, is shaping up to be one of the biggest U.S. fundraisers since the October 2001 "Concert for New York City" organized by McCartney in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

That show - featuring more than 60 musicians, actors, and comedians - honored fire fighters, police and emergency workers and raised more than $30 million for 9/11 charities.

Organizers said some two billion people worldwide will have access to the "12-12-12" benefit on television, radio, in movie theaters and online. It will also be streamlined on digital billboards in New York's Times Square, and in Paris and London.

" ‘12-12-12' will be the largest concert event to ever hit the stage at Madison Square Garden, featuring the biggest names in music and the world's leading entertainers," event producers Clear Channel Entertainment, The Weinstein Company and the Madison Square Gardens Company said in a joint statement.

"It was important to us that everyone possible around the world have the ability to watch the show through multiple platforms, networks and simulcasts and donate to this important cause."

More than 130 people were killed when Sandy pummeled the east coast of the United States in October. Thousands more were left homeless as the storm tore through areas of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, causing an estimated $50 billion in damage.

Donations raised from the one-night event concert will go to the Robin Hood Relief Fund, which will provide money and materials to groups helping people hardest hit by the storm.

Organizers said "every single penny from ticket purchases and donations" will go to serve victims through the Robin Hood Relief Fund.

The Rolling Stones kicked off the first of five 5Oth anniversary concerts in London last week and are due to play three in the United States, ending on December 15 in Newark, New Jersey.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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