World mourns top entertainer

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LOS ANGELES --- Michael Jackson, the sensationally gifted child star who rose to become the "King of Pop" and the biggest celebrity in the world only to fall from his throne in a freakish series of scandals, died Thursday. He was 50.

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<b>1972 </b>with the Jackson 5  Associated Press
Associated Press
1972 with the Jackson 5

Mr. Jackson died at UCLA Medical Center after being stricken at his rented home in Holmby Hills. Paramedics tried to resuscitate him at his home for nearly three-quarters of an hour, then rushed him to the hospital, where doctors continued to work on him.

"It is believed he suffered cardiac arrest in his home. However, the cause of his death is unknown until results of the autopsy are known," his brother Jermaine said. Police said they were investigating, standard procedure in high-profile cases.

Mr. Jackson's death brought a tragic end to a long, bizarre, sometimes farcical decline from his peak in the 1980s, when he was popular music's premier all-around performer, a uniter of black and white music who shattered the race barrier on MTV, dominated the charts and dazzled even more on stage.

His 1982 album Thriller -- which included the blockbuster hits Beat It, Billie Jean and Thriller -- is the best-selling album of all time, with an estimated 50 million copies sold worldwide.

At the time of his death, Mr. Jackson was rehearsing hard for what was to be his greatest comeback: He was scheduled for an unprecedented 50 shows at a London arena, with the first set for July 13.

As word of his death spread, MTV switched its programming to play videos from Mr. Jackson's heyday. Radio stations began playing marathons of his hits. Hundreds of people gathered outside the hospital. In New York's Times Square, a low groan went up in the crowd when a screen flashed that Mr. Jackson had died, and people began relaying the news to friends by cell phone.

"It's like when Kennedy was assassinated," said Michael Harris, 36, of New York City. "I will always remember being in Times Square when Michael Jackson died."

The public first knew him as a boy in the late 1960s, when he was the precocious, spinning lead singer of the Jackson 5, the singing group he formed with his four older brothers out of Gary, Ind. Among their No. 1 hits were I Want You Back, ABC and I'll Be There .

He was perhaps the most exciting performer of his generation, known for his backward-gliding moonwalk, his feverish, crotch-grabbing dance moves and his high-pitched singing, punctuated with squeals and titters. His single sequined glove, tight, military-style jacket and aviator sunglasses were trademarks, as was his ever-changing, surgically altered appearance.

"He was the consummate entertainer and his contributions and legacy will be felt upon the world forever," said Quincy Jones, who produced Thriller . "I've lost my little brother today, and part of my soul has gone with him."

Mr. Jackson ranked alongside Elvis Presley and the Beatles as the biggest pop sensations of all time. He united two of music's biggest names when he was briefly married to Elvis' daughter, Lisa Marie, and Mr. Jackson's death immediately evoked comparisons to Elvis, who died at age 42 in 1977.

As years went by, Mr. Jackson became an increasingly freakish figure -- a middle-age man-child weirdly out of touch with grown-up life. His skin became lighter, his nose narrower, and he spoke in a breathy, girlish voice. He often wore a germ mask while traveling, kept a pet chimpanzee named Bubbles as one of his closest companions, and surrounded himself with children at his Neverland ranch, a storybook playland filled with toys, rides and animals. The tabloids dubbed him "Wacko Jacko."

"It seemed to me that his internal essence was at war with the norms of the world. It's as if he was trying to defy gravity," said Michael Levine, a Hollywood publicist who represented Mr. Jackson in the early 1990s. He called Mr. Jackson a "disciple of P.T. Barnum" and said the star appeared fragile at the time but was "much more cunning and shrewd about the industry than anyone knew."

Mr. Jackson caused a furor in 2002 when he dangled his infant son, Prince Michael II, over a hotel balcony in Berlin while a throng of fans watched from below.

In 2005, he was cleared of charges he molested a 13-year-old cancer survivor at Neverland in 2003. He had been accused of plying the boy with alcohol and groping him, and of engaging in strange and inappropriate behavior with other children.

The case followed years of rumors about Mr. Jackson and young boys. In a TV documentary, he acknowledged sharing his bed with children, a practice he described as sweet and not at all sexual.

Despite the acquittal, the lurid allegations that came out in court took a fearsome toll on his career and image, and he fell into serious financial trouble.

Mr. Jackson was 4 years old when he began singing with his brothers -- Marlon, Jermaine, Jackie and Tito -- in the Jackson 5. After his early success with bubblegum soul, he struck out on his own, generating innovative, explosive, unstoppable music.

The peak might have come in 1983, when Motown celebrated its 25th anniversary with an all-star televised concert and Mr. Jackson moonwalked off with the show, joining his brothers for a medley of old hits and then leaving them behind with a pointing, crouching, high-kicking, splay-footed, crotch-grabbing run through Billie Jean .

The audience stood and roared. Mr. Jackson raised his fist.

By then he had cemented his place in pop culture. He got the plum Scarecrow role in the 1978 movie musical The Wiz , a pop-R&B version of The Wizard of Oz , that starred Diana Ross as Dorothy.

During production of a 1984 Pepsi commercial, Mr. Jackson's scalp suffered burns when an explosion sets his hair on fire.

He had strong follow-up albums with 1987's Bad and 1991's Dangerous , but his career began to collapse in 1993 after he was accused of molesting a boy who often stayed at his home. The singer denied any wrongdoing, reached a settlement with the boy's family, reported to be $20 million, and criminal charges were never filed.

REACTION

"I am so very sad and confused with every emotion possible. I am heartbroken for his children who I know were everything to him and for his family. This is such a massive loss on so many levels, words fail me." -- Lisa Marie Presley , former wife of Michael Jackson and daughter of Elvis Presley

"I must confess I am not surprised by today's tragic news. Michael has been on an impossibly difficult and often self-destructive journey for years. His talent was unquestionable but so too was his discomfort with the norms of the world. A human simply cannot withstand this level of prolonged stress." -- Michael Leaven , a publicist who represented Mr. Jackson when the singer was accused of molesting a child in 1993

"I knew Michael as a child and watched him grow over the years. Of all the thousands of entertainers I have worked with, Michael was THE most outstanding. Many have tried and will try to copy him, but his talent will never be matched." -- Dick Clark , host of American Bandstand

"Michael Jackson was my generation's most iconic cultural hero. Courageous, unique and incredibly talented. He'll be missed greatly." -- Russell Simmons , hip-hop entrepreneur and founder of Def-Jam Records

"We have lost an icon in our industry and my heartfelt condolences go out to his family and children in this hour of sorrow that they are now going through. He will live on in my memory and most definitely through the music he shared with so many." -- Dionne Warwick , singer and Mr. Jackson's friend

"Michael Jackson was my musical God. He made me believe that all things are possible, and through real and positive music. He can live forever! I love Michael Jackson. God bless him." -- Wyclef Jean , rapper

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patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 06/26/09 - 05:25 am
0
0
When a S.C. governor follows

When a S.C. governor follows in the famous foot steps of renowned Dems like JFK and Slick Willie, he's known as "_______________" (put insult here), but let a multi-millionaire pedophile die and the world mourns. Lefties live in a different world than people.

HotFoot
17
Points
HotFoot 06/26/09 - 05:45 am
0
0
There's that Christian mercy

There's that Christian mercy that we've all come to expect from you, PT! Yes, he was a sad, sick man, but he brought joy to millions of people through his music. Why not honor that gift, that accomplishment, now that he's dead? And I personally feel sorry for Sanford, because he's clearly in love with this woman. These things happen. And I think that's easier to forgive than Clinton's dalliances. The point the left-leaning make is that it's especially galling when that behavior comes from someone who has sought to block others' expression of love.

HotFoot
17
Points
HotFoot 06/26/09 - 05:59 am
0
0
I'd also like to point out

I'd also like to point out that Sanford is a multimillionaire, too. What's your point? I thought you felt that rich people were "achievers" and that to hold their money against them was to foment class warfare and promote socialism?

overburdened_taxpayer
117
Points
overburdened_taxpayer 06/26/09 - 06:08 am
0
0
I really just don't

I really just don't understand some people. If a child molester is caught around here people are calling for an immediate execution, but because Jackson was a celebrity he gets a pass? People say that "he had his transgressions but he was such an entertainer" or other trash like that. Well his aw s--t(s) take away ALL his atta-boys.

pantherluvcik
628
Points
pantherluvcik 06/26/09 - 06:23 am
0
0
Despite unfounded and

Despite unfounded and dismissed charges of molestaion against Michael Jackson none of you know the truth about what happened. They never had an ounce of evidence to back their claims, except these money hungry parents who exploited their children for quick cash. Because if I ever believed that he molested or was accused of molesting a child I would never put my children in that situation. My boyfriend was a visitor of Neverland ranch once a year and he has pictures of him there and meeting Michael and he says he and his staff were absolutely nothing but nice to them. Yes Michael is a little strange, but no more than other child stars who have been in constant scrutiny. Say what you want but Michael is an icon and pop God, nobody can take that from him. I think we've lost someone very special and that he was not yet done making his mark, he will be sorely missed. My heart goes out to his family and I hope his children are well cared for.

andywarhol
0
Points
andywarhol 06/26/09 - 07:01 am
0
0
Did you know they won't need

Did you know they won't need to embalm MJ? He already has enough chemicals and plastic in him to preserve him for a while.

perymason
0
Points
perymason 06/26/09 - 07:09 am
0
0
"World mourns top

"World mourns top entertainer", does it really? "Top Entertainer" WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME HE WAS TOP ANYTHING?

andywarhol
0
Points
andywarhol 06/26/09 - 07:10 am
0
0
Top Pedophile?

Top Pedophile?

Grasshopper
7
Points
Grasshopper 06/26/09 - 07:21 am
0
0
Posted by HotFoot on Fri Jun

Posted by HotFoot on Fri Jun 26, 2009 5:45 AM Grabbing his crotch over and over while dancing on a car did not bring anyone joy. I watch that video as a teenager and thought what a freak. He was a disgrace to the talents that were given to him. America's Pop Culture is disgusting, parents who supported and worship this freak should be ashamed. Look what you are teaching your children. I am glad I had Parents with decency, to teach me at a young age, not to idolize entertainers.

Billy Shears
0
Points
Billy Shears 06/26/09 - 07:27 am
0
0
There is a tribute sale at

There is a tribute sale at WalMart today. All boy's underwear is half off.

overburdened_taxpayer
117
Points
overburdened_taxpayer 06/26/09 - 07:35 am
0
0
pantherluvcik - there must

pantherluvcik - there must have been something to it if he paid off the parents. Why would you pay someone for a lie?

emergencyfan
0
Points
emergencyfan 06/26/09 - 08:29 am
0
0
He was never proven guilty so

He was never proven guilty so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt on that. Overburdened, if you were the parent of a molested child, why would you accept the money? If it was my kid, I wouldn't rest until the guy was in jail (or worse). So that knife cuts both ways.

HotFoot
17
Points
HotFoot 06/26/09 - 08:29 am
0
0
You people disgust me. And

You people disgust me. And Trey, I don't "idolize" anyone, least of all entertainers. But I recognize that he, like everyone (even you) is--was--human. If his dancing and music didn't bring you joy, that's your problem. Perhaps you lack the capacity for joy, just as you lack the capacity of compassion and empathy when it comes to people who don't conform to your standards of normalcy.

justthefacts
21359
Points
justthefacts 06/26/09 - 08:30 am
0
0
No doubt he was a great

No doubt he was a great entertainer who provided a lot of musical enjoyment to millions, including me. Unfortunately, he was also terribly flawed. Bad parenting and too much success too early probably caused much of it. Fortunately, people will be able to enjoy his contribution to the arts for years to come.

overburdened_taxpayer
117
Points
overburdened_taxpayer 06/26/09 - 08:38 am
0
0
"I think we've lost someone

"I think we've lost someone very special and that he was not yet done making his mark,...." Posted by pantherluvcik on Fri Jun 26, 2009 6:23 AM - are you sure mark should be "stain" that could be traced by DNA?

JFJ
0
Points
JFJ 06/26/09 - 08:58 am
0
0
He was a truly talented

He was a truly talented individual that revolutionized the music industry and will be missed by many. RIP Michael!

AAQueen
18
Points
AAQueen 06/26/09 - 09:12 am
0
0
PROVEN NOT GUILTY Unless you

PROVEN NOT GUILTY Unless you saw him molest someone you can not call him a pedophile.
Yes he was strange but I don't think he ever molested a child.
Did you know that he's in the world book of records for supporting the most charaties? Take that AW

snowman45
0
Points
snowman45 06/26/09 - 09:26 am
0
0
he was a piece of trash and i

he was a piece of trash and i dont care how good he sang and deanced or how many people got joy from his music as soon as he touched a little boy he was just as bad as any piece of garbage that does that. just because you are famous doesn't give you a pass on things like that. well it shouldn't anyway. i bet some of you supporting him also think oj is innocent. the only thing that would have been better is if him and oj would have gone down together in a plane crash or something.

SweetT
1
Points
SweetT 06/26/09 - 09:27 am
0
0
"proven not guilty"????? no,

"proven not guilty"????? no, he was found not guilty, because the parents of the children he molested put a price on their children that michael was able to meet........it is a sad state when money means more to you than your childrens safety. the fact that he was able to pay off the parents of the kids he molested does not mean he did not molest them, i say good riddance michael, maybe the little boys of the world can sleep a little easier today knowing you are gone.

snowman45
0
Points
snowman45 06/26/09 - 09:31 am
0
0
amen sweet

amen sweet

keepinitreal
0
Points
keepinitreal 06/26/09 - 09:38 am
0
0
Oh my, opinions, opinions.

Oh my, opinions, opinions. Everyone's entitled by the constitution to their "Freedom of Speech" and so be it. Now I live more solely by facts than heresay. Who of one you have actual visable proof of the issues in those matters that you have so much input about. I was not there and therefore can't say one word based on perception, speculation and mostly media heresay. . I want to keep it that way and now just remember him for his sense of style and amazing talent. At the end of the day yall, It won't matter what anyone of us say on here, Michael Jackson's body is gone, but his memory will live and that make's him a Legend and Icon and it's gonna be history as well, like it or not.

I hope that the family can find that moment of peace through their time in the pain for the beloved Michael Jackson.

overburdened_taxpayer
117
Points
overburdened_taxpayer 06/26/09 - 09:51 am
0
0
michael has LEFT THE

michael has LEFT THE BUILDING!

1trugent
0
Points
1trugent 06/26/09 - 10:08 am
0
0
I can't say for sure he

I can't say for sure he molested anyone, but any parent would have to be half out of their mind if they're going to let their small children sleep over at a grown man's home regardless of who he is.

0430
0
Points
0430 06/26/09 - 10:09 am
0
0
I'm going to stay positive

I'm going to stay positive today unlike others.

Michael, may God Bless your family. Will miss you Michael!

sueboo418
37
Points
sueboo418 06/26/09 - 10:16 am
0
0
Amen 0430!!! My prayers to

Amen 0430!!! My prayers to his family, He was truly a gifted musician/entertainer.

pizzato
3
Points
pizzato 06/26/09 - 10:19 am
0
0
Farrah Fawcett died and went

Farrah Fawcett died and went to heaven. God said she could have anything she wanted and she asked for all the children in the world to be safe.

Then God killed Michael Jackson!

js_ee
0
Points
js_ee 06/26/09 - 10:20 am
0
0
EVERY account I've read said

EVERY account I've read said MJ was innocent, but I guess some of you were there, so you know first hand?!?! brokenwing, fyi, no one has sold-out more concerts and sold more albums than MJ ("Thriller" has gone 20x platinum alone). All 59 venues of his comeback tour sold-out in the first day of ticket sales...if that doesn't make you a top entertainer...what does?

justsaying
0
Points
justsaying 06/26/09 - 10:28 am
0
0
if we're going to cover

if we're going to cover celebs deaths...shouldn't Farrah have a little more coverage?...King of Pop...Hottest woman on earth for 20 years...if you bump news...balance it...

overburdened_taxpayer
117
Points
overburdened_taxpayer 06/26/09 - 10:42 am
0
0
But ya still can't get around

But ya still can't get around the fact that he paid off some parents. Again I'm gonna ask would you give somebody a lot of money to keep a lie quiet?

Boston93
117
Points
Boston93 06/26/09 - 10:45 am
0
0
To those that don't know the

To those that don't know the difference between Governor Sanford and Michael Jackson, read the headline of this article.
Stop using just any comment/article you wish to put your messages across.
As for Michael, I'm glad and sad. Glad we don't have to watch him holding his crotch, vulgar dancing, etc. Sad for his family and friends that tried to get in his head to no avail. So, now the real world goes on. His soul will most likely go to "One flew over the Cuckoo Nest Hospital." He may not have been bad to kids (which I doubt), but he has been bad to many many adults by not taking their advice. He is now in Rehab.

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