Jackson dominated the charts in the 1980s and is considered one of the most successful entertainers of the past century, with a lifetime sales tally estimated at 750 million records, 13 Grammy Awards and several seminal music videos to his name.
“Michael was and will remain one of the greatest entertainers that ever lived,” said Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, Jackson’s first label boss.
“He was exceptional, artistic and original. He gave the world his heart and soul through his music.”
But Jackson’s reputation as a singer and dancer was overshadowed in recent years by his increasingly abnormal appearance, and bizarre lifestyle, which included his friendship with a chimp and a preference for the company of children.
He named his estate in the central California foothills Neverland Valley Ranch, in tribute to the J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan stories, and filled it with amusement park rides and a petting zoo.
Jackson was twice accused of molesting young boys and was charged in 2003 with child sexual abuse. He became even more reclusive following his 2005 acquittal and vowed he would never again live at Neverland.
Facing a battered reputation and mountain of debts the Wall Street Journal reported ran to $500 million, Jackson had spent the last two months rehearsing for the London concerts, including Wednesday night at the huge Staples Center arena, home to the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team.
Despite reports of Jackson’s ill-health, the promoters of the London shows, AEG Live, said in March Jackson passed a 4-1/2 hour physical examination with independent doctors.
“I can’t stop crying over the sad news,” Madonna said in a statement. “I have always admired Michael Jackson. The world has lost one of the greats but his music will live on forever.”
Jackson was born on August 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana, the seventh of nine children and first performed with his brothers as a member of the Jackson 5.
His 1982 album “Thriller” yielded seven top-10 singles. The album sold 21 million copies in the United States and at least 27 million internationally.
The following 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.
In 1994, Jackson married Elvis Presley’s only child, Lisa Marie, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1996.
“I’m so very sad and confused with every emotion possible. … This is such a massive loss on so many levels, words fail me,” Presley said in statement.
Jackson married Debbie Rowe the same year and had two children, before splitting in 1999, and he later had another child with an unidentified surrogate mother.
He is survived by three children named Prince Michael I, Paris Michael and Prince Michael II.
See his “BAD” video at; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uG5NhkxQJQc
Blessings of Comfort to
Lady Bee ✿