Michael Jackson

Death of Michael Jackson

August 29, 1958 - June 25, 2009
Los Angeles, California | Age 50

"King of Pop" dead at 50


Grateful Jackson fans moved by memorial service

By SANDY COHEN, AP Entertainment Writer

LOS ANGELES -- Fans who were lucky enough to score tickets to Michael Jackson's memorial service Tuesday knew they were witnessing history. "It was amazing," said 35-year-old Gregory Vernon, who wore sunglasses as he walked solemnly out of Staples Center after the service. "We'll probably never see anything like it again."

Two stay-at-home moms from Arizona left their kids with their husbands and caught a last-minute flight to attend the memorial.

"Love him or hate him, this is the experience of a lifetime," said 38-year-old Carly Stoltenberg of Gilbert, Ariz. "This brought back his humanness."

Her friend Katey McPhearson said the service, like the man it memorialized, "totally transcended all races, all cultures, all ages."

Erma Trinidad of Irvine, Calif., was thrilled to be among the fans outside Staples, but she felt guilty for calling in sick to her job as a defense contractor.

"This is the most unprofessional I've ever been," said the 34-year-old Jackson fan.

Clarisse Que was feeling guilty, too. Instead of inviting her father to the memorial, she took a friend, Trinidad.

"I'm DVR-ing it for my dad," Que said.

Fans gathered outside Staples beforehand to snap photos of the scene, the giant sympathy card for Jackson and a tribute in red and white roses that read, "We love you Michael."

Guests were mostly orderly as they moved through metal detectors. Each was handed a program, submitted to a check of their purses or packages and shuffled into the giant arena. Once inside, audience members mostly remained seated and sedate.

But they also cheered the arrival of celebrities such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Kobe Bryant. Once the ceremony began, they stood and sang along with Mariah Carey and Trey Lorenz, who reprised their cover of the Jackson 5's "I'll Be There," and gave a standing ovation to Stevie Wonder, who sang George Michael's "They Won't Go When I Go."

The ceremony had all the trappings of any big Hollywood show, relying on Grammy producer Ken Ehrlich and veteran stage manager Valdez Flagg, who works on the Oscars and Grammys.

But plenty of people without tickets to enjoy the spectacle still made the pilgrimage downtown. Fans crowded the corner just outside the police perimeter, where more than 20 uniformed officers kept watch. Dozens of street vendors also were in the mix, selling buttons, posters, T-shirts, bouquets and glittery gloves.

"Show your love, get a glove," a woman shouted, carrying a cardboard box of spangled white gloves.

Single mom Tamanika Hines made her own Jackson tribute T-shirt and asked her son's father to watch the baby so she could come to the memorial. Her friend, Sharhon Tinsley, took the day off from her day care job to attend.

"Everyone knows this is my Michael Jackson day," she said.

Andrea Hernandez of Los Angeles said she was looking forward to seeing photos of Jackson at the memorial: "I like how he looked when he was younger."

The 21-year-old Hernandez was also excited that Jackson's body would be at the service, "only because it makes it that much more special. Spiritually ... he's here. But physically, it's just like, whoa. It makes it that much more powerful. It's something that I'll tell my kids about."

Norma Paramo of Fontana, Calif., said she used to sing "I'll Be There," translated into Spanish, to her aunt who raised her.

"He was a hero for me as I was growing up," Paramo said of Jackson. "When there was hard times, his music would make me feel happy. I could get lost in his music and forget about everything we were going through, and I'm going to miss him."

She wiped away tears as she said, "This will be closure for me."


Person: Officials discuss possible Jackson event

By ANTHONY MCCARTNEY, AP Entertainment Writer

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles officials are holding closed-door talks about a possible event for Michael Jackson on Tuesday at a downtown arena, a person with knowledge of the situation said Thursday.

The event would take place at the Staples Center, home of the Los Angeles Lakers, said the person who wasn't authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.

It wasn't immediately clear if a funeral or a public memorial was being discussed for the entertainer - or both.

All talks are preliminary, and no decisions have been made, the person said.

Another site that has also been discussed for a Jackson tribute is the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The discussions were held as the federal Drug Enforcement Administration joining the investigation into Jackson's death, and Jermaine Jackson said he would be "hurt" if toxicology reports showed his younger brother abused prescription drugs.

"In this business, the pressures and things that you go through, you never know what one turns to," Jermaine Jackson said in an interview on NBC's "Today" show.

The circumstances surrounding Jackson's death last week have become a federal issue, with the DEA asked to help police take a look at the pop star's doctors and possible drug use. Allegations have emerged that the 50-year-old entertainer had been consuming painkillers, sedatives and antidepressants.

Asked if he would be shocked or surprised if Michael's drug use was proven, Jermaine Jackson said, "I would be hurt." He said he had heard about prescription drug use in the 1980s when his brother was hurt in an accident filming a commercial but did not know if drug use was a possibility more recently.

"I don't know about these things, because I hate anything with drugs," he said, adding that it hurts the family for people to say things about drug use "because we don't know."

Psychic entertainer Uri Geller, a former Jackson confidant, said he tried to keep Jackson from abusing painkillers and other prescription drugs, but others in the singer's circle kept him supplied.

"When Michael asked for something, he got it. This was the great tragedy," Geller said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press from his suburban London home.

Jermaine Jackson said he would like Neverland Ranch to be his brother's final resting place. A person familiar with the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity told the AP that permits for a burial at Neverland could not be arranged in time.

Jermaine Jackson said in the "Today" interview that he wishes he had died instead of his younger brother, and that Michael was "a gift from Allah."

The Los Angeles Police Department asked the DEA to help in the probe, a law enforcement official in Washington told the AP on condition of anonymity because of the investigation's sensitivity.

While the investigation into the singer's death deepened, passionate Michael Jackson fans spent another day in an uneasy limbo, awaiting word from the King of Pop's camp about where and when a memorial service might be held for their hero - and if they're even invited.

Speculation about the potential location of a memorial has ricocheted from the Staples Center to the Los Angeles Coliseum to the Nokia Theater. Jackson family spokesman Ken Sunshine said a public memorial was in the works but that it wouldn't be at Neverland.

The elimination of the proposed Neverland memorial came as a blow to many Jackson fans who had already descended on the estate in the rolling hills near Santa Barbara with the hope of attending a public viewing.

"We're terribly disappointed," said Ida Barron, 44, who arrived with her husband Paul Barron, 56, intending to spend several days in a tent.

On the legal front, Jackson's 7-year-old will was filed Wednesday in a Los Angeles court, giving his entire estate to a family trust and naming his 79-year-old mother Katherine and his three children as beneficiaries. The will also estimates the value of his estate at more than $500 million.

Katherine Jackson was appointed the children's guardian, with entertainer Diana Ross, a longtime friend of Michael Jackson, named successor guardian if something happens to his mother. A court will ultimately decide who the children's legal guardian will be.

Jackson's lawyer John Branca and family friend John McClain, a music executive, were named in the will as co-executors of his estate. In a statement, they said the most important element of the will was Jackson's steadfast desire that his mother become the legal guardian for his children.

The will doesn't name father Joe Jackson to any position of authority in administering the estate. Also shut out is ex-wife Debbie Rowe, the mother of his two oldest children.

The will, dated July 7, 2002, gives the entire estate to the Michael Jackson Family Trust. Details of the trust will not be made public.

Jackson owns a 50 percent stake in the massive Sony-ATV Music Publishing Catalog, which includes music by the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Lady Gaga and the Jonas Brothers.

Jackson, who died June 25, left behind three children: son Michael Joseph Jr., known as Prince Michael, 12; daughter Paris Michael Katherine, 11; and son Prince Michael II, 7.

Rowe was the mother of the two oldest children; the youngest was born to a surrogate mother, who has never been identified.

Autopsy planned after Jackson's sudden death

LOS ANGELES -- Authorities are seeking to clear up the mystery surrounding Michael Jackson's death, including whether prescription drugs could have been a factor.

An autopsy was planned for Friday, though results weren't 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.

Brian Oxman, a former attorney of Jackson's and a family friend, said he was concerned about Jackson's use of painkillers and he warned the singer's family about possible abuse.

"I said one day, we're going to have this experience. And when Anna Nicole Smith passed away, I said we cannot have this kind of thing with Michael Jackson," Oxman said Friday on NBC's "Today" show. "The result was, I warned everyone, and lo and behold, here we are. I don't know what caused his death. But I feared this day, and here we are."

The 50-year-old musical superstar died Thursday, just as he was preparing for a series of 50 concerts starting July 13 at London's 02 arena.

He 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 for nearly three-quarters of an hour, then rushed him to the hospital, where doctors continued to work on him.

His brother Jermaine said it was believed that Jackson suffered cardiac arrest at his home. 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.

A handful of bleary-eyed fans camped out throughout the night with media outside the Jackson family house in the San Fernando Valley and near his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Oxman, who said he was speaking on behalf of no one but himself, and other friends made the rounds among the news outlets, adding to the intrigue of Jackson's early demise. Oxman claims Jackson had prescription drugs at his disposal to help with pain suffered when he broke his leg after he fell off a stage and for broken vertebrae in his back.

"When the autopsy comes, all hell's going to break loose, so thank God we're celebrating him now," Liza Minnelli told CBS' "The Early Show" by telephone.

In 2007, Jackson settled a lawsuit filed by a Beverly Hills pharmacy that claimed the singer owed more than $100,000 for prescription drugs over a two-year period.

After Jackson was acquitted on child molestation charges in 2005, Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Sneddon argued returning some items belonging to Jackson he labeled "contraband." Sneddon said those included syringes, the drug Demerol and prescriptions for various drugs, mainly antibiotics, that were in different people's names.

Jackson's 1982 album, "Thriller," is the best-selling album of all time, with an estimated 50 million copies sold worldwide.

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


Associated Press Article on Jackson's death

LOS ANGELES -- 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."


AP Special Correspondent Linda Deutsch and AP writers Derrik J. Lang, Solvej Schou, Anthony McCartney and Thomas Watkins in Los Angeles; and Virginia Byrne, Hillel Italie, Nekesa Mumbi Moody and Jocelyn Noveck in New York contributed to this report.


Michael Jackson Selected Discography:


Solo albums:

"Got To Be There," 1972.

"Ben," 1972.

"Music & Me," 1973.

"Forever, Michael," 1975.

"Off The Wall," 1979.

"Thriller," 1982.

"Bad," 1987.

"Dangerous," 1991.

"Invincible," 2001.


Albums by "The Jackson 5," the family R&B quintet that launched Jackson to fame:

"Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5," 1969.

"ABC," 1970.

"Third Album," 1970.

"The Jackson 5 Christmas Album," 1970.

"Goin' Back to Indiana," 1971.

"Maybe Tomorrow," 1971.

"Lookin' Through the Windows," 1972.

"Get It Together," 1973.

"In Japan!," 1973.

"Skywriter," 1973.

"Dancing Machine," 1974.

"Live!," 1974.

"Moving Violation," 1975.


Albums by "The Jacksons," which formed after the group _ without older brother Jermaine _ left Motown Records for the Epic record label:

"The Jacksons," 1976.

"Goin' Places," 1977.

"Destiny," 1978.

"Triumph," 1980.

"Live," 1981.

"Victory," 1984.

"2300 Jackson Street," 1989.


"We Are the World," a 1985 charity song co-written by Jackson and Lionel Richie. It reached the top of the charts, featuring the voices of Jackson, Richie, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Tina Turner, Billy Joel, Diana Ross, Bruce Sprinsteen, Ray Charles and a host of others.

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