Michael Jackson Died at 50

25 June 2009 |

Music icon Michael Jackson, whose fame spanned from his childhood with the legendary Jackson 5 to a superstar solo career that earned him the nickname 'King of Pop,' died Thursday afternoon at a Los Angeles hospital, a source close to the family told FOX News. He was 50.

Debra Opri, a former Jackson family attorney, confirmed the singers death after other media reported that he had fallen into a coma. He reportedly was taken by ambulance at 12:30 p.m. local time to UCLA Medical Center, where he died at 3:15 p.m.

Multiple reports said he had gone into cardiac arrest, though the official cause of death wasn't immediately known. A news conference is expected later Thursday at the hospital, where fans have gathered to pay tribute to the singer.

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.

Jackson was born in Indiana in 1958. He rose to fame as part of the successful pop group The Jackson 5, formed with his brothers in 1967. The group went on to earn four number one hits in 1970 alone, and the 12-year-old Jackson became the undeniable breakout star of the group.

In 1972, Jackson enjoyed his first solo hit with the song “Ben.” Six years later, he made his film debut in “The Wiz,” in which he renewed his friendship with producer Quincy Jones.

Collaborating with Jones, Jackson went on to become remarkably successful with his solo efforts “Off The Wall” in 1979 and “Thriller” in 1982.

From there, Jackson went on to become the undeniable “King of Pop,” winning eight Grammy awards for “Thriller” alone.

During the 1980s, he became an icon with a distinct style of fashion and performing, as well, wearing one sparkling glove, bejeweled military clothing and short pants with socks.
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It was around this time that Jackson began experimenting with excessive cosmetic surgery, including lightening of his skin.

In 1992, Jackson founded the "Heal the World Foundation," a charity that brought underprivileged children to his Neverland Ranch, where Jackson would spend time with them and allow them to stay the night.

This practice raised many eyebrows, especially when Jackson was accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy who had become a regular Neverland guest. Jackson maintained his innocence. In 1994, he settled the case out of court for an undisclosed amount.

Jackson briefly was married to Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis. The union drew intense public scrutiny, there was speculation as to whether the marriage was simply an attempt to improve Jackson’s image, though he maintained that they lived genuinely as husband and wife; however, the marriage broke up after less than two years.

From there, his career never quite recovered, but he remained in the news, making headline after headline for strange and unusual behavior, including dangling his child over a balcony in Germany in 2002.

In 2004, police raided the Neverland Ranch, issuing an arrest warrant for charges of child molestation based on allegations of a boy who had appeared in Martin Bashir's infamous documentary about Jackson. Later that year, a man filed a lawsuit against him, alleging he had been molested 20 years earlier, explaining that he had repressed the memory until 2003. However, a judge eventually dismissed the lawsuit.

In 2005, he was cleared of charges he molested the 13-year-old cancer survivor at Neverland in 2003. He had been accused of playing the boy with alcohol and groping him. The case took a fearsome toll on his career and image, and he fell into serious financial trouble.

Jackson was preparing 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. He was in rehearsals in Los Angeles for the concert, an extravaganza that was to capture the classic Jackson magic: showstopping dance moves, elaborate staging and throbbing dance beats.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the hospital as word of his death spread. The emergency entrance at the UCLA Medical Center, which is near Jackson's rented home, was roped off with police tape.

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 sent to his telephone. "It's like when Kennedy was assassinated. I will always remember being in Times Square when Michael Jackson died."


Dee said...

Johnny is awesome. Great actor and sexy as hell.

Stephen said...

Pity him, died at the young age. This world losing another great pop star. Sigh.