Michael Jackson
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Michael Jackson, defined in equal parts as the world's greatest entertainer and perhaps its most enigmatic figure, was about to attempt one of the greatest comebacks of all time. Then his life was cut shockingly — and so far, mysteriously — short.

The 50-year-old musical superstar died Thursday, just as he was preparing for what would be a series of 50 concerts starting July 13 at London's famed 02 arena. Jackson had been spending hours and hours toiling with a team of dancers for a performance he and his fans hoped would restore his tarnished legacy to its proper place in pop.

An autopsy was planned for Friday, though results were not likely to be final until toxicology tests could be completed, a process that could take several days and sometimes weeks. However, if a cause can be determined by the autopsy, they will announce the results, said Los Angeles County Coroner Investigator Jerry McKibben.

Police said they were investigating, standard procedure in high-profile cases.

Jackson died at UCLA Medical Center after being stricken at his rented home in the posh Los Angeles neighborhood of 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.

Cardiac arrest is an abnormal heart rhythm that stops the heart from pumping blood to the body. It can occur after a heart attack or be caused by other heart problems.

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.

As word of his death spread, MTV switched its programming to play videos from 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 Jackson had died, and people began relaying the news to friends by cell phone.

"No joke. King of Pop is no more. Wow," Michael Harris, 36, of New York City, read from a text message a friend had sent him. "It's like when Kennedy was assassinated. 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.

"For Michael to be taken away from us so suddenly at such a young age, I just don't have the words," said Quincy Jones, who produced "Thriller." ''He was the consummate entertainer and his contributions and legacy will be felt upon the world forever. I've lost my little brother today, and part of my soul has gone with him."

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 Presley's daughter, Lisa Marie. Jackson's sudden death immediately evoked comparisons to that of Presley himself, who died at age 42 in 1977.

"I am so very sad and confused with every emotion possible," Lisa Marie Presley said in a statement. "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."

As years went by, Jackson became an increasingly freakish figure — a middle-aged 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 Jackson in the early 1990s. He called 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."

Jackson caused a furor in 2002 when he playfully 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 that 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 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.

Michael Joseph Jackson was born Aug. 29, 1958, in Gary. He 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 album "Thriller" alone mixed the dark, serpentine bass and drums and synthesizer approach of "Billie Jean," the grinding Eddie Van Halen guitar solo on "Beat It," and the hiccups and falsettos on "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'."

The peak may have come in 1983, when Motown celebrated its 25th anniversary with an all-star televised concert and 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. Jackson raised his fist.

During production of a 1984 Pepsi commercial, Jackson's scalp sustains 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.

Jackson's expressed anger over the allegations on the 1995 album "HIStory," which sold more than 2.4 million copies, but by then, the popularity of Jackson's music was clearly waning even as public fascination with his increasingly erratic behavior was growing.

Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley in 1994, and they divorced in 1996. Later that year, Jackson married Deborah Rowe, a former nurse for his dermatologist. They had two children together: Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., known as Prince Michael, now 12; and Paris Michael Katherine Jackson, 11. Rowe filed for divorce in 1999.

Jackson also had a third child, Prince Michael II. Now 7, Jackson said the boy nicknamed Blanket as a baby was his biological child born from a surrogate mother.

Billboard magazine editorial director Bill Werde said Jackson's star power was unmatched. "The world just lost the biggest pop star in history, no matter how you cut it," Werde said. "He's literally the king of pop."

Jackson's 13 No. 1 one hits on the Billboard charts put him behind only Presley, the Beatles and Mariah Carey, Werde said.

"He was on the eve of potentially redeeming his career a little bit," he said. "People might have started to think of him again in a different light."


Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press
Published in Salisbury Post on Jun. 25, 2009.
Memories & Condolences
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25697 entries
March 23, 2021
He is in a way better place then we are fly high michael
Ny'Riah Dumas
March 23, 2021
your legacy will never end as you keep inspiring people all over the world. thank you for all your contributions to music. fly high mj
Zeynep Ayyldz
February 27, 2021
I've been a fan of Michael Jackson for a while now and I really wish he was still alive. I love you, Michael. Rest in Peace.
Anna Smith
February 8, 2021
Be free and fly high michael we love you
Andrew Sorensen
February 4, 2021
R.I.P Michael Jackson
Elizabeth Bell
January 24, 2021
Michael Jackson is the best artist Michael Jackson been on the Hall of Fame Michael Jackson does what he do on stage without thinking a thing he's a legend he's an artist he won 8 Grammys in a night his favorite color is red in Black his favorite
luella harrell
January 24, 2021
I love Michael Jackson song so much that all these pictures that you see under all of them is my profile for my computer school computer and also I really want to meet Tina Turner The Jackson 5 and everybody else in the world all the famous people in arti
luella harrell
January 24, 2021
From age 9 or age 5 growing up all is in his life is music I love the movie because of you plus the one on YouTube American Dream part 1 through I think 20 but the movie is the greatest movie.
luella harrell
January 24, 2021
Michael Jackson songs inspired names I listen to Thomas and every day I compare are his favorite things to me and my cousin he still wants to be a kid Michael Jackson always laugh and play.
luella harrell
January 24, 2021
When Michael Jackson was 50 years old now to this day here 60-something years old he is a legend he always look good in all of his outfits he is the greatest artists of all time and rest in peace MJ.
luella harrell
January 24, 2021
I believe it what he went he went through it's not okay it's not alright Michael Jackson was the best man alive he was the King of Pop he was the greatest legends never die I still listen to his music basically everyday while I listen to kids music while I cry and pray only 11 don't know what to say Michael Jackson R.I.P love you all the jackson supporters and fans and last but not least the Jackson family you are all Legends.
luella harrell
January 24, 2021
Michael Jackson is the best person in the world like legends never die I love all of his family Tito Jackson Jermaine Janet Latoya and the rest and how I speak R.I.P Michael Jackson.
luella harrell
December 30, 2020
Brenda Lynch
December 30, 2020
He will always be missed by me
December 28, 2020
Brenda Lynch
December 18, 2020
December 17, 2020
he is such a good man i love his music

November 30, 2020
he was a great man
November 30, 2020
Brianna jackson
November 18, 2020
Michael was an amazing person, his music always cheers me up. He did not deserve what he went through, he always wanted to make people happy. R.I.P Michael
Trinity Plance
September 23, 2020
Rest In Peace Cousin Micheal. I have been missing you since you were alive. I miss you more in death. Nothing can erase the memories I’ve carried in my heart and mind since the late 60’s and early 70’s. I take this moment to also leave blessings with your/our family members as a whole. Like it used to be long long ago.
Tonya L Cummings
September 23, 2020
Michael your music has been the background music for my life. From a 10 year old little girl to an adult, you have always been there for me. Thank you, KKEM
Kelly Jackson
September 16, 2020
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Migdalia Velazquez
September 2, 2020
Happy Birthday, I miss you and Love you forever. Janice Moore, of Williamsburg, Va.
Janice Moore
August 30, 2020
Happy Birthday We All Miss Love and Miss You. R.I.P.
Beth Munafo
August 29, 2020
MICHAEL JACKSON came into our lives. He shared his PHENOMENAL talent. The WORLD has never been the same...❤❤....HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!
Valenda Newell
August 29, 2020
Valenda Newell
August 29, 2020
MICHAEL JACKSON came into our lives. He shared his PHENOMENAL talent and the world was NEVER the SAME......❤❤......Happy Birthday!!!
Valenda Newell
August 26, 2020
Missing you as always Michael I know the heavenly Angels are loving you. Sing a song to my beautiful mom.
Darryl Doleman
June 26, 2020
Michael you are truly missed by many people even after all these years. My younger sister died last year of cancer at 62 years old her name was Antoinette. I don't think anyone could have been a bigger fan who loved you so much most of her life. In our family you have always been a part of our lives because we loved you so much even as a child . You were sweet and so talented we followed your life as you grew to be a handsome talented kind man. Your children were raised by your mom with love and care. They grew up to be truly wonderful people and I'm sure you would have been so proud of them.
Michael you will never be forgotten no matter how many years go by . I pray that people will focus on the good things you achieved in your life and the happiness you brought into our world. You truly were a hard act to follow not too many performers can compare to your music your dancing your voice, you really had it all plus such a handsome man on top of that.
I love you Michael ❤ you will never ever be forgotten
I pray your family has managed to keep life as normal as possible with their loss. Losing a family member is so hard. I understand because I lost two brothers and a sister. They also were gone too soon .
Rest in peace Michael
We love you always ❤

Gina B.
June 24, 2020
Eleven years and you are still and always will be loved and missed by me. Love,Janice
Janice Moore
May 28, 2020
Dear Michel Jackson family sorry lost Michel Jackson I like his music
Luff Spencer
May 8, 2020
Michael Jackson your my favorite singer I listen to your music everyday your music will never die your music will live forever I am proud to be a Moonwalker
George Parrish
May 8, 2020
Michael Jackson you will always be my favorite singer I listen to your music everyday your music will never die your music will live forever I am proud to a Moonwalker
George Parrish
May 3, 2020
Jazmín Cruz
May 1, 2020
I miss Michael Jackson so much he my favorite singer we be doing his dance all the time
Charles Parrish
April 22, 2020
Rest in heaven my brother
Felix Bland And Family
Felix Bland
April 14, 2020
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
April 14, 2020
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always.
April 14, 2020
As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life's routine, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends.
April 7, 2020
Dearest Michael since you left this world life as you know it has changed drastically. There are thousands of people dying with the corona virus and we don't have a cure. The whole world is suffering and so many lives are gone because of it and we are all in quarantine so we don't infect each other if we do catch it.
I watched a video someone posted online with a concert you performed a song "Heal the world" it was so touching I couldn't help but cry with your words being sung and what's going on today in our world. If you can see us please send a miracle from heaven to save our world before more die. You always inspired us for the better so now even in death I turn to you still to inspire us help us be strong and wait out this horendous disease till it stops killing us.
I love you Michael and always will.
You made the world a better place and now we need a miracle from God to save us. I hope people realize how important faith is. It's what gets us through even the worst times in life.
Rest in peace Michael we still love you .
Gina B.
January 28, 2020
Michael, you were and still are my all time favorite musician. I never had the opportunity to see you in concert, but when I knew you were going to be on t.v. I made sure I was front and center.
Diane L
January 27, 2020
Dear Micheal I want say thank you for awesome music that you have created for so many years through my life you were my favorite icon I will always celebrate yr birthday on August 29,1958 I forgive you for leaving me so soon and always wanted to meet in person I will miss you and lo❤E you always and forever each day I think of you I am trying to teach myself the moonwalk by watching a YouTube video and copying the five easy steps to fallow!!! Its too bed that your not around to teach my the steps!!!
Lo❤E you lots Michael
Yours truly From Your biggest fan Kimberly !!!!
Kimberly Thomas
January 27, 2020
my memory on Micheal Just wanted say thank you for the music that you created for so many years you you were a favourite of mine! love From Kimberly !!!
January 14, 2020
We Love you and miss you Michael ❤ Blessings to your Family.
Beth Munafo
December 5, 2019
Michael I just wanted to tell you that you brought so much happiness and love into the world .
Since you're gone the world is getting worse and there is so much division among people of all religions.
No matter what religion we are no matter what beliefs we have no matter the color or race you brought us all together with your music.
You brought us love and togetherness and support to help each other.
I don't know who will be able to bring us back together again now that you're gone.
I don't think you knew how much people looked up to you. You were an inspiration to us all with your generosity and kindness.
I will always love you and I truly hope your children realize what an impact you had on our world.
Rest in peace Michael
Gina B.
December 1, 2019
I Love your music

November 4, 2019
Thank you for being a wonderful and talented individual.Will miss you. I thank you wholeheartedly Michael. God Bless.
September 22, 2019
Michael I know you have been gone for a few years now but somehow your absence is always felt by everyone who loved you. You have so many fans who know that a gentle kind man with a heart of gold is never forgotten.
Not only were you talented but you loved sharing your talent with the world and we all felt that because you made us feel special to share your gift with us.
We love you and will continue so till it's our time to join you in the great beyond
Rest in peace Michael you will never be forgotten neither will your songs which you worked so hard to create.

Gina B.
September 13, 2019
May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief.
Camella Ford
September 7, 2019
HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY (8/29th)....I continue to CELEBRATE you through your music, listening to all your songs on the date above every year from sunrise to sunset. Still no one on this place we call earth has matched one's vocals or dance moves. Thanks for sharing one's spectacular talent with the world....LOVE, PEACE and SOUL❤
Valenda Newell
September 6, 2019
Sail the Uni Verse
Michael Connell Reynolds
September 3, 2019
Happy Birthday, I love and miss you. Janice Moore, of Wmsbg, Va.
Janice Moore
August 29, 2019
Happy Birthday
August 10, 2019
The legend continues. 1958 - Forever.
Luke Lascheit
July 25, 2019
You are still in my heart ❤
Charmaine Kaufman
July 16, 2019
Where were you when you were told that Michael Jackson was dead? Personally, I had walked into a grocery story in Milwaukee, WI and I asked an employee, had he heard about the death of Michael Jackson? He responded to me in shock and devastation. I then began hearing other customers talking about the same, and then I knew, that our Michael was gone! What a disbelieving and sad day that was for me and millions alike. I will never, ever forget Michael Jackson. -Alfrieda Spicer, (Milwaukee, WI)
Alfrieda Spicer
June 26, 2019
The most GIFTED entertainer that has came out of the state of INDIANA, who turned out being the most famous musical artist in the world. Michael had the voice, dance moves and just the full package when it came down to mesmerizing an audience. I miss you very much, you gave fans many magical moments on stage. THANKS FOR THE GREAT MUSIC!!
Valenda Newell
June 25, 2019
I still love and miss you ten years later. I love you forever. Love, Janice Moore of Williamsburg, VA.
Janice Moore
June 25, 2019
Rest in Eternal Peace and Paradise, Michael; the World misses & thanks you for your countless contributions, happiness & smiles you brought and continue to bring through your music, dance and mere presence here
Tammy Denierio Tomisman & Family
June 24, 2019
happy birthday
jennifer wahl
June 23, 2019
Michael jackson jumping and being happy.
I Will Be Thinking Of You on 25th june 2019. Rest in peace Michael Jackson I love You
Maria Kitiefs
June 6, 2019
To the Jackson Family
I know the saying time heals NO time makes it more tolerable. Mrs Jackson I hope you are fairing through losing a child. We all miss him it was like losing a family member. I hope your family stays strong through all the trials you are still going through. Love a Friend
Donna McCloud Sutton
May 2, 2019
Thank you and we'll miss you
April 28, 2019
You left us to soon
April 21, 2019
Thank you for your music . I just can't get enough of your artistry . You were truly th ed king of pop. Rest in peace
Rhonda Mason
April 15, 2019
MICHAEL rest in peace NOW everything will fall into place no matter what your children adore you.so do your FANS.we will respect you forever.love to your family.who stick by you everyday.katherine misses you so much it breaks my heart for her to have lost her beloved son MICHAEL.rest in peace LOVE to FAMILY.
April 13, 2019
Was thinking about you today and i found this site. I really miss you
Monik Jefferson
April 10, 2019
Dear Micheal really miss you I have been a fan for a long time may you rest in peace
Natalie Julian
March 11, 2019
DEAR MICHAEL MISSING YOU STILL WILL ALWAYS BE A FAN OF YOURS .You were so talented since YU WERE A child .Can't FORGET the first time I saw YU perform on ed Sullivan show.You were so amazing.Still are.love forever..xxx
March 6, 2019
March 2, 2019
Praying for your family. Loved you since I was a child. Your Spirit with be with us all forever. REST IN PEACE
Beth Munafo
March 2, 2019
Praying for your family. Loved you since I was a child. Your Spirit with be with us all forever. REST IN PEACE
Beth Munafo
February 27, 2019
yasmin lawrence
February 7, 2019
It's 2019. Reading about Michael-Jackson again has reminded me of the grief I felt listening to the news reports of his ordeal the day he died. For those closest to him and the fans, the grief is in our hearts.
February 4, 2019
DEAR MICHAEL where ever YU are NOW still in shock after all these years .You were the most famous person in the world.Still are I MISS you your music will live on forever.So rest in peace forever.love yu
January 27, 2019
That I loved him growing up in the sixties. He was a kind and wonderful human. Rest easy my dearest MJ. Love you forever!
Donna Marie Stewart
January 22, 2019
Im only 12 and michael dies a long time ago cuz now its 2019 and i knew every one of his songs he was such an amazing artist R.I.P michael.
Riley Kortkamp
January 22, 2019
I like his music
December 17, 2018


Lisa Murrey Ransom
December 10, 2018
Always thinking of you Michael and I'm only 16 and I listen to you religiously I'll see you up there when I pass love you Soo much
Vanidy Womeldorff
November 16, 2018
Wus Up MJ I know u up there with God Put on a show u still make my Day Love you Always
Danine Harvell
November 15, 2018
miss you!!!!!!!!!!
Michael's #1 fan
October 1, 2018
We all miss you and love you michael
Alex Fluharty
September 30, 2018
Theresa Flores you were the best artist !an had a good personality that made you shine like a star.you'll always be loved by many an never forgotten.
Theresa Flores
September 18, 2018
u were awesome miss and love u so much i love your music and i have one of your cds your legacy will always be in my heart
deana freed
September 9, 2018
Happy belated Birthday Micheal. Love you
Vickie Gayden
September 9, 2018
Blessings Micheal, I have for the last week been looking over your life after 9 years. I want to say you were a amazing man and father. I truly miss you and you truly deserve to be love back, cause you love everybody that you cross. I only regret that I have never met you but one when you was younger. My family live next door to your family, in Gary, Indiana. Love you so much. There will never be another.
Vickie Gayden
August 31, 2018
I loved and still love micheal and I miss him so much
Annette Durr
August 29, 2018
Rest In Peace Michael Jackson...
You'll always remain part of me!..
Tina Hoskins
August 29, 2018
"HAPPY 60BIRTHDAY "....While listening to the radio (WTLC 1st black station in Indiana) in our family living room back in 1968. There was this single record debut of this 10 yr old singing lead with his brothers singing the background vocals. The title of the song was "I'M A BIG BOY NOW" and the family was by a nearby city called GARY INDIANA. I could not believe the incredible voice I heard, his name was MICHAEL JACKSON with a unbelievevable voice. I knew at that very moment that kid was going to be a STAR. 1970: 4 singles hit No.1.......1979: OFF THE WALL.....1982: THRILLER.....1983: SIGNATURE MOONWALK....1984: EIGHT GRAMMYS NIGHT and HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME X2...ETC....THANKS for sharing your talent with the world, I was so glad to c this young kid make it out of GARY and take his talented family with him. MJ u put INDIANA on the map of SUCCESS........BLESSINGS and LOVE❤❤
Valenda Newell
August 20, 2018
Michael You Will Live Forever in our Hearts and Memories.
August 8, 2018
Michael,You will be in my heart forever❤❤❤❤
Laura Miller
August 3, 2018
Michael, I love you more than you could ever imagine. This world feels cold without you.
July 25, 2018
The world is cruel and unforgiving, but you made it a better place while you were living.

Through your music you will forever live on, and we'll continue to play it until our days on earth is done.

So Rest In Peace Dear Michael, KING OF POP, and always know that you'll live forever in our hearts, and that your Legacy and your music will live on, and it will never ever STOP!!!.
July 12, 2018
DEAR MICHAEL this is just for YU.yu lived YUR LIFE.yu met everyone that was famous.yu WERE rich everyone loved YU too.so I'm saying REST in peace NOW don't worry about us.Everyone of us will get our destiny the way God had it planned.love YU.rest NOW.
June 29, 2018
Michael Jackson is my inspiration in life! I respect him so much! I love his kindness, his caring , his talent , his charitable ways! He is a great man! I have lots of love in my heart for him. I pray to see him again one day! Thank you for making me smile! God bless you!
Teresa Graham
June 26, 2018
Valenda Newell
June 25, 2018
Michael, From ABC to I'll Be There to This Is It. You are not here but your music lives for ever. You are gone but your spirit is out there feeling as free as wind as you did in my dream. As you left the hospital you looked so sick and in pain. But when you stepped out of the hospital into the playground nearby full of kids running and playing you ran into the playground with you arms up in the air twirling and twirling around and around with the biggest smile as if you were free from all your pain. I love you for the person you were even though never met you in real life but my dream of being there seeing you so happy is the best memory ever. Thank you & your family for some precious memories.
Nina Canales
June 25, 2018
Nina Canales
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