I still am reeling from the news reports. I still cannot believe it.
Michael Jackson. The Phenomenon. The King of Pop.
Dead at the age of 50.
MICHAEL JACKSON, DEAD AT 50
Jackson Was Not Breathing When Authorities Arrived, LA Times Says
POSTED: 4:56 pm EDT June 25, 2009
UPDATED: 6:29 pm EDT June 25, 2009
Pop star Michael Jackson was pronounced dead by doctors Thursday afternoon after arriving at a hospital in a deep coma, city and law enforcement sources told the Los Angeles Times.
Capt. Steve Ruda said Thursday that Jackson was not breathing when Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics responded to a call at his Los Angeles home about 12:30 p.m. The paramedics performed CPR and took him to UCLA Medical Center, Ruda told the newspaper.
L. Londell McMillan, a lawyer for Jackson, did not have any information. Messages left for other Jackson associates were not immediately returned.
The hospitalization was first reported by the Web site TMZ.
The emergency entrance at the UCLA Medical Center, which is near Jackson’s rented home, was roped off Thursday with police tape.
News trucks were gathered, helicopters flew overhead, and orange cones were laid out to redirect traffic.
“We have no statements as far as transporting Michael Jackson,” Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Devin Gales said.
The news comes as the Jackson was expected to kick off a series of shows in London.
Jackson, 50, hasn’t released a studio album since 2001, and his turns in the spotlight have mostly focused on his personal troubles.
Jackson was arrested in 2003 on child-molestation charges and acquitted in 2005 after a trial in California.
Associated Press entertainment reporters Derrik Lang and Anthony McCartney and special correspondent Linda Deutsch in Los Angeles and music writer Nekesa Mumbi Moody in New York contributed to this story.
MICHAEL JACKSON, KING OF POP, DEAD AT 50
By SHEILA MARIKAR and EMILY FRIEDMAN
June 25, 2009
Michael Jackson, the self-anointed “King of Pop” who revolutionized music but whose legacy was marred by allegations of child molestation and bizarre behavior, died after suffering cardiac arrest Thursday. He was 50 years old.
Singer Michael Jackson is shown in this November 15, 2006 file photo in London. Jackson was rushed to the UCLA Medical Center this afternoon after suffering cardiac arrest, according to multiple reports.
(MJ Kim/Getty Images)
The Los Angeles Fire Department was called to Jackson’s residence at 12:26 p.m. P.T., according to the Los Angeles Times. The paper reported that paramedics performed CPR on Jackson, who was not breathing when they arrived at his home. He was rushed to LA Medical Center, just six miles from his home.
Jackson’s death comes less than a month before the start of a scheduled series of so-called comeback concerts. From July 13 to March 6, 2010, Jackson was scheduled to perform 50 sold-out concerts at London’s O2 Arena.
Jackson is survived by his three children, Prince Michael I, Paris and Prince Michael II.
Fans last heard from Jackson during a press conference in London last March, where he assured about 2,000 fans that his upcoming concert would be his “final curtain call.”
“I just want to say that these will be my final show performances in London,” he said to the screaming crowd. “This will be it. When I say this is it, this will be it.”
Groomed for Stardom
Born Michael Joseph Jackson in Gary, Ind., in 1958, “The King of Pop” was the fifth of nine children of Joe and Katherine Jackson. Both parents instilled a love of music early in their children’s lives: Katherine taught them folk music while Joe, a budding guitarist, managed them and molded their musical work ethic. Michael was only four years old when he started singing with his older brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon and formed the original Jackson 5.
The brothers were discovered by Motown singers Diana Ross and Gladys Knight and pianist Billy Taylor after a performance at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, N.Y. Motown Records founder Berry Gordy would soon sign them to a contract. Gordy’s investment paid off: The Jackson 5 broke through to national stardom in 1969-70 with four consecutive hit songs. Energetic, dancing prepubescent Michael was the standout of the group. “I saw so much of myself as a child in Michael,” Diana Ross told a reporter in 1970. “He was performing all the time. That’s the way I was. He could be my son.”
Rest in peace, Michael.