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Michael Jackson, King of Pop, Dies, 50

Shantella Y. Sherman | 6/26/2009, 12:04 a.m.

The world was shocked to learn earlier today that legendary R&B-pop icon Michael Jackson had died, in what his brother Jermaine describes as €cardiac arrest€. Jackson reportedly collapsed inside his Los Angeles compound at approximately 12 noon (PST) while in the company of his personal physician, who tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate him. Paramedics were called and transported Jackson to Ronald Reagan Memorial UCLA Medical Center, where another team of physicians performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation for more than an hour, before declaring his death.

As the family awaits the results of an autopsy to determine the actual cause of death, stunned fans began setting up makeshift memorials all over Los Angeles, including at Jackson's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Los Angeles police Lt. Gregg Strenk said at a separate news conference that police robbery-homicide detectives have been ordered to investigate, which is common in a high-profile case. Strenk says the coroner€s office, which will handle inquiries into the type of death, is taking possession of the body.

Jackson was born Michael Joseph Jackson on August 29, 1958, in Gary, In. The fifth son of steelworker and homemaker, Joseph and Katherine Jackson, he was ushered into the music business by his father as a member of the family R&B act, The Jackson 5. Reared a devout Jehovah's Witness, Jackson said he was often conflicted by the raucous environments of performance halls and his faith. After being spotted at a local nightclub, The Jackson 5 were signed to Motown in 1968 and issued their debut single in October 1969. By early 1970, the group, led by 11-year-old Michael, had a string of hits, including €I Want You Back€, €ABC€, €The Love You Save€, and €I€ll Be There€.

In 1977, Jackson was casts alongside fellow Motowner, Diana Ross in the Quincy Jones film production of the musical The Wiz, an all-Black rendering of The Wizard of Oz. The collaboration with Jones led to Jackson€s first successful solo album, Off the Wall. The album mixed healthy doses of dance tracks with pop tunes and ballads, producing four Top Ten singles, including €Don't Stop €til You Get Enough€, €Rock With You€, and €She€s Out of My Life€.

Cementing Jackson€s celebrity as a solo artist was the iconic 1982 release of his sophomore album Thriller, once again, produced by Quincy Jones. The release partnered Jackson with former-Beatles member Paul McCartney, and legendary horror film actor Vincent Price. The album not only produced more number one singles than any other in music history, but also revolutionized the burgeoning field of accompanying music videos. Utilizing feature film equipment and techniques, Jackson took music videos into an artform status, replete with heavily choreographed routines, well-known actors, and theatrical performances.

Thriller remained on the Billboard music charts for more than two years and spent an astronomical thirty-seven weeks in the number one position, making it the best selling album in music history. In the midst of Jackson€s commercial success, he partnered with Lionel Richie to co-write and produce €We Are the World€, an all-star ballad designed to raise money and awareness for famine-relief in Africa.

Jackson went on to release four additional albums, Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991), HiStory, a 2-CD compilation, (1995) and Invincible, (2001), to massive acclaim.

Jackson€s personal life, rife with accusations of eccentricities, child molestations, and an introverted temperament, was reinforced by an impromptu marriage to Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of the late rock star Elvis Presley. The marriage took place in 1994, and ended 19 months later. In late 1996, Jackson married dermatology nurse Deborah Jeanne Rowe, with whom he fathered a son, Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr. (€Prince), and a daughter, Paris Michael Katherine Jackson. The couple divorced in 1999. Jackson has received almost two hundred major awards, including 19 Grammys, 40 Billboard Awards, and 14 NAACP Image Awards.

Jackson is survived by his parents, Joseph and Katherine, his siblings, and his three children, Michael, 11, Paris, 10, and Prince Michael Jackson II, 7.
o learn earlier today that legendary R&B-pop icon Michael Jackson had died, in what his brother Jermaine describes as €cardiac arrest€. Jackson reportedly collapsed inside his Los Angeles compound at approximately 12 noon (PST) while in the company of his personal physician, who tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate him. Paramedics were called and transported Jackson to Ronald Reagan Memorial UCLA Medical Center, where another team of physicians performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation for more than an hour, before declaring his death.


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