Thursday, June 25, 2009
Michael Jackson 1958-2009
Here's the proper obit for Michael Jackson.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Michael Jackson, the child star turned King of Pop who set the world dancing but whose musical genius was overshadowed by a bizarre lifestyle and sex scandals, died on Thursday. He was 50.
Jackson was pronounced dead at 2:26 p.m. PDT (5:26 p.m. EDT) after arriving at a Los Angeles hospital in full cardiac arrest, said Fred Corral of the Los Angeles County Coroner's office. The cause of death was not known and an autopsy would likely take place on Friday, he said.
Jackson was taken ill at home and his personal physician tried to resuscitate him but could not, his brother Jermaine told reporters. Jackson was taken by paramedics to the hospital, where doctors worked for more than an hour to try to revive him before pronouncing him dead, the brother said.
Known as the "King of Pop," for hits that included "Thriller" and "Billie Jean," Jackson's dramatic, one-gloved stage presence and innovative dance moves were imitated by legions of fans around the world.
His lifetime record sales tally was believed to be around 750 million, and with his 13 Grammy Awards and boundary-breaking music videos he was one of the most successful entertainers of all time.
But Jackson's belief that "I am Peter Pan in my heart," his preference for the company of children, his friendship with a chimp, his high-pitched voice and numerous plastic surgeries also earned him critics and the nickname "Wacko Jacko."
Jackson led a reclusive life after his acquittal in 2005 on charges of child molestation, the second time he had faced ultimately unproved allegations of abuse of young boys.
"For Michael to be taken away from us so suddenly at such a young age, I just don't have the words. I've lost my little brother today, and part of my soul has gone with him," Quincy Jones, who helped arrange the music on the album "Thriller" and produced the "Off the Wall" album, told MSNBC.
Jackson had been due to start a comeback series of concerts in London on July 13 running until March 2010, and had been rehearsing in the Los Angeles area for the past two months. The shows for the 50 London concerts sold out within minutes of going on sale in March.
Detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department's Robbery Homicide division searched Jackson's home in the Holmby Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, saying they had been directed to do so by Chief William Bratton because of the media frenzy.
"The Los Angeles Police Department handles death investigations every day," said officer Gregg Strenk. "Robbery Homicide was assigned to this case due to the high profile nature of it. Don't read anything into it."
Tributes poured in.
He was a "true musical icon whose identifiable voice, innovative dance moves, stunning musical versatility, and sheer star power carried him from childhood to worldwide acclaim," said Neil Portnow, president and CEO of The Recording Academy in a statement.
Jackson was one of the first black entertainers of the MTV generation to gain a big crossover following. As he grew older he appeared to lighten his skin to a pale white -- which he said was caused by the skin pigmentation condition vitiligo.
There were concerns about Jackson's health in recent years -- last year he was photographed in Las Vegas in a wheelchair for reasons that were never explained.
But the promoters of the London shows, AEG Live, said in March that Jackson had passed a 4-1/2 hour physical examination with independent doctors.
About 200 fans and reporters gathered outside the Los Angeles hospital. Some fans cried and hugged each other.
"I hope he's gone to God, and I hope that he's free of all the troubles he's been plagued with," Tonya Blazer, 50, who said she had been a fan going back more than four decades.
"I just feel like I'm paying tribute to him," said Dawn Burgess, 42, a fan who said she had posters of Michael pinned to her bedroom wall when she was a child.
CHILD STAR TO MEGASTAR
Jackson was born on August 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana, the seventh of nine children. Five Jackson boys -- Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael -- first performed together at a talent show when Michael was 6. They walked off with first prize and went on to become a best-selling band, The Jackson Five, and then The Jackson 5.
Jackson made his first solo album in 1972, and released "Thriller" in 1982, which became a smash hit that yielded seven top-10 singles. The album sold 21 million copies in the United States and at least 27 million worldwide.
The next year, he unveiled his signature "moonwalk" dance move, gliding across the stage and setting off an instant trend, while performing "Billie Jean" during an NBC special.
His personal life was troubled.
In 1994, Jackson married Elvis Presley's only child, Lisa Marie, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1996. Jackson married Debbie Rowe the same year and had two children, before splitting in 1999. The couple never lived together.
Jackson was survived by three children named Prince Michael I, Paris Michael and Prince Michael II, known for his brief public appearance when his father held him over the railing of a hotel balcony, causing widespread criticism.
In 1993, Jackson announced he had become addicted to painkillers, and abruptly canceled a world tour to promote his album "Dangerous."
Dozens of fans gathered near Jackson's modest boyhood home in Gary, to pay their respects to the entertainer who left the city long ago. Some deposited flowers or toys and others blared his hit songs from their car stereos.
Gary Mayor Rudy Clay called Jackson the "world's greatest entertainer" and said he had made the city proud.
In New York, fans gathered at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, singing Jackson hits and dancing in celebratory tribute.
(Additional Reporting by Jill Serjeant and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles, Andrew Stern in Chicago and Michelle Nichols in New York; Writing by Frances Kerry, Editing by Jackie Frank and Howard Goller)
The funny thing is it took Michael Jackson's death for MTV to play music videos again!