Michael Jackson dead at age 50

Published: 9:20AM Friday June 26, 2009

Source: Reuters

Michael Jackson, the child star turned King of Pop who set the world dancing but whose musical genius was overshadowed by a bizarre lifestyle and sex scandals, has died at age 50. 
Jackson was pronounced dead at about 2:26 p.m. PDT (9.26am Friday NZT) after arriving at a Los Angeles hospital in full cardiac arrest, said Fred Corral of the Los Angeles County Coroner's office. The cause of death is not yet known and an autopsy will take place on Friday in LA. 
Jackson's sudden death had been reported earlier by US media, which said he was taken ill at his home and rushed to the hospital by paramedics who found him not breathing when they arrived. 
Known as the King of Pop, for hits that included Thriller and Billie Jean, Jackson's dramatic, one-gloved stage presence and innovative dance moves were imitated by legions of fans around the world. 
Michael Jackson- a life in pictures 
He transformed music videos and his lifetime record sales tally is believed to be around 750 million, which, added to the 13 Grammy Awards he received, made him one of the most successful entertainers of all time. 
But Jackson's belief that "I am Peter Pan in my heart", his preference for the company of children , his friendship with a chimp, his high-pitched voice and numerous plastic surgeries also earned him critics and the nickname Wacko Jacko. 
Jackson, who had lived as a virtual recluse since his acquittal in 2005 on charges of child molestation, had been scheduled to launch a comeback tour from London next month. 
Quincy Jones, who helped arrange the music on the album Thriller and produced the Off the Wall album, told MSNBC: "I am absolutely devastated at this tragic and unexpected news." 
"For Michael to be taken away from us so suddenly at such a young age, I just don't have the words. I've lost my little brother today, and part of my soul has gone with him."  
Jackson had been due to start a series of concerts in London on July 13 running until March 2010 . The singer had been rehearsing in the Los Angeles area for the past two months. The shows for the 50 London concerts sold out within minutes of going on sale in March. 
"Rarely has the world received a gift with the magnitude of artistry, talent, and vision as Michael Jackson," said Neil Portnow, president and CEO of The Recording Academy in a statement. 
"He was a true musical icon whose identifiable voice, innovative dance moves, stunning musical versatility, and sheer star power carried him from childhood to worldwide acclaim." 
There were concerns about Jackson's health in recent years but the promoters of the London shows, AEG Live, said in March that Jackson had passed a four and a half hour physical examination with independent doctors. 
Outside the hospital in Los Angeles about 200 fans and reporters gathered on Thursday, waiting for confirmation of Jackson's death or condition. 
Some fans were crying and hugging each other, and others were climbing atop fences to get a better look at a microphone stand where a news conference was supposed to take place. 
"I hope he's gone to God, and I hope that he's free of all the troubles he's been plagued with," Tonya Blazer, 50, who said she had been a fan going back more than four decades to his days as a child star. 
"I just feel like I'm paying tribute to him," said Dawn Burgess, 42, a fan who said she had posters of Michael pinned to her bedroom wall when she was a child.  
Jackson was born on August 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana, the seventh of nine children. Five Jackson boys - Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael - first performed together at a talent show when Michael was 6. They walked off with first prize and went on to become a best-selling band, The Jackson Five, and then The Jackson 5. 
Jackson made his first solo album in 1972, and released Thriller in 1982, which became a smash hit that yielded seven top-10 singles. The album sold 21 million copies in the United States and at least 27 million worldwide. 
The next year, he unveiled his signature "moonwalk" dance move 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. Jackson married Debbie Rowe the same year and had two children, before splitting in 1999. The couple never lived together. 
Jackson has three children named Prince Michael I, Paris Michael and Prince Michael II, known for his brief public appearance when his father held him over the railing of a hotel balcony, causing widespread criticism. 
New Yorkers and tourists in the city's Times Square were shocked at the news of Jackson's death. 
"I don't know what to say. It's sad, it's really, really sad," said Nicole Smith, an 18-year-old student from Brooklyn, New York, in Times Square. "My mother was a fan. I listened to his music." 
"I'm shocked. I thought someone was lying to me when I first heard it. I was a fan from when he was a little boy and then he got weird," said Sue Sheider, 51, a teacher from Long Island.

Michael Jackson: A life tarnished by scandal

Published: 11:27AM Friday June 26, 2009

Source: Reuters

Michael Jackson saw his musical versatility and head-turning dance moves propel him from child prodigy to solo superstar before child sex abuse scandals tarnished his reputation and his career.

News of Jackson's death, which media reports said was caused by cardiac arrest, broke as the 50-year-old singer was poised for a come-back with a string of 50 concerts scheduled to start in London on July 13.

They were to be his first concert series for 12 years and were expected to earn Jackson more than $400 million according to concert promoters AEG Live.

Jackson's fame reached a climax in 1982 with the iconic album and music video Thriller. He sold an estimated 750 million records and won 13 Grammys throughout a career that spanned four decades.

But the moon-walking, sequin-gloved performer was beset by eccentricities that in 2008 had turned him into a virtual recluse with a mountain of financial woes.

Concerns about his health had been rampant during his 2005 trial in California on charges of child sex abuse - at which he was acquitted - and in 2008 when he was photographed in Las Vegas in a wheelchair for reasons that were never explained.

AEG Live said Jackson had passed a lengthy physical exam in early 2009, before the London concerts were announced .

Jackson was credited as the first black entertainer to gain a strong crossover following on music channel MTV.

Music videos such as Thriller, featuring dancing zombies, and "Beat It," pushed the boundaries of the fledgling art of music videos, while his spectacular stage performances created armies of devoted fans around the world. 

Michael Jackson - a life in pictures

After the release of Thriller, Time magazine described him as "the hottest single phenomenon since Elvis Presley" and said he was a "star of records, radio, rock video."

But Jackson's belief that "I am Peter Pan in my heart", his preference for the company of children, his friendship with a chimp called Bubbles, his high-pitched voice and numerous plastic surgeries earned him the name "Wacko Jacko."

The gradual change in his skin color to a pale white - which he said was caused by the skin pigmentation condition vitiligo - and his penchant for wearing surgical masks and shrouding his children with veils in public, added to his reputation as an eccentric.

After two, ultimately unproved, allegations in 1993 and 2003 of sexually abusing young boys during sleepovers at his Neverland Ranch in California, Jackson never recovered the exuberance and musical creativity that marked his youth.

After his acquittal in 2005 on charges of sexual abuse of a 13-year-old boy, Jackson shut the gates of Neverland and began a nomadic lifestyle in Bahrain, Dubai, Ireland and Las Vegas while battling lawsuits over his dwindling finances.

Jackson said repeatedly that he loved children and would never harm them but he was often forced to defend his views on sharing his bed with children. "Children love me. I love children ... They want to be with me. But anybody can come in my bed. A child can come in my bed if they want," he said in a 1996 U.S. television interview.

Born on August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana, Jackson started singing as the youngest member of brother group the Jackson 5, which clinched its first record deal in 1968 when he was 11.

Hits like ABC and I'll Be There helped the brothers become the first group in pop history to have their first four singles top the US pop charts, and by 1972 Jackson released his first solo album.

Those early years, under a strict father, took their toll. Jackson said later that he built his home Neverland, with a zoo, train rides, movie theater and carousel, because he "wanted to have a place that I could create everything I never had as a child."

He teamed up with producer Quincy Jones to make Off the Wall (1979) which yielded four hit singles and then Thriller with its dance, rock and pop tunes that produced seven Top Ten singles and stayed on US charts for over two years. By 2009 it had sold more than 45 million copies worldwide.

In 1985, he wrote the famine relief charity single We Are The World with Lionel Richie, which became one of the fastest selling singles of that era.

The hit albums Bad and Dangerous followed and Jackson began calling himself the King of Pop as rumors mounted about his odd private life. In 1994, he made an out-of-court payment to settle accusations that he molested a boy in California.

A few months later, he stunned the world by marrying Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley, but the couple divorced in 1996. The same year, he married former nurse Debbie Rowe and had two children - Prince Michael Jackson I and Paris Michael Katherine. They split up in 1999. Four years later he had another son, Prince Michael Jackson II with an unidentified surrogate mother.

The Official Michael Jackson YouTube Channel

Style: Pop
Joined: 21 June 2005
Last Sign In: 1 day ago
Subscribers: 266,332
Channel Views: 21,667,496

Sony Comments on the Passing of Michael Jackson

NEW YORK, NY June 25, 2009 Michael Jackson, one of the most widely beloved entertainers and profoundly influential artists of all-time, leaves an indelible imprint on popular music and culture. 

Commenting on his passing, Sir Howard Stringer, Chairman, CEO and President, Sony Corporation, said: Michael Jackson was a brilliant troubadour for his generation, a genius whose music reflected the passion and creativity of an era. His artistry and magnetism changed the music landscape forever. We have been profoundly affected by his originality, creativity and amazing body of work. The entire Sony family extends our deepest condolences to his family and to the millions of fans around the world who loved him.

Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, CEO, Sony Music Entertainment, said: Michael Jackson's unsurpassed artistry and beloved music brought joy to every corner of the world. We join today with his millions of fans in expressing our profound sadness and we offer our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones. It was a true privilege for all of us in the Sony Music family to work with one of the most talented superstars in the history of music. We will miss him greatly. 

Martin Bandier, Chairman & CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, said: Michael was the kind of amazing talent that comes along once in a lifetime. He was an incredible recording artist, an insightful businessman, an unmatched performer, and a true icon. To all of us at Sony/ATV Music Publishing, he was also a trusted and passionate partner, who was very proud of our accomplishments. He will be dearly missed. We wish his children and entire family our deepest condolences. 

Five of Jacksons solo albums Off the Wall, Thriller, Bad, Dangerous and HIStory, all with Epic Records, a Sony Music label are among the top-sellers of all time. During his extraordinary career, he sold an estimated 750 million records worldwide, released 13 No.1 singles and became one of a handful of artists to be inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Guinness Book of World Records recognized Jackson as the Most Successful Entertainer of All Time and Thriller as the Biggest Selling Album of All Time. Jackson won 13 Grammy Awards and received the American Music Awards Artist of the Century Award.

Michael Jackson started in the music business at the age of 11 with his brothers as a member of the Jackson 5. In the early 1980s, he defined the art form of music video with such ground-breaking videos as Billie Jean, Beat It and the epic Thriller. Jacksons sound, style and dance moves inspired subsequent generations of pop, soul, R&B and hip-hop artists.


Demand soars for Jackson music

Published: 4:06PM Saturday June 27, 2009

Source: Reuters

Michael Jackson's pop music legacy stretches back 40 years and could extend well into the future as music companies and retailers reissue CDs, repackage his songs and resell memorabilia after his sudden death.

In dollar terms, Jackson, who died at age 50 after going into cardiac arrest on Thursday, justified his title as the King of Pop. He was believed to have sold 750 million records and had the No. 1 bestselling album of all time, Thriller.

His death has sparked renewed interest in his albums and videos. Everyone from the labels that produced his albums to media outlets, retailers and street vendors selling Jackson T-shirts is set to cash in to the tune of millions of dollars.

"Michael pulled an Elvis. It's probably the best thing that happened to them this year," Wayne Rosso, a music industry consultant and publicity executive, said of various Sony Corp record labels that own Jackson's music.

Jackson's hitmaking reliability faded over time, with albums such as 1995's HIStory and 2001's "Invincible" failing to top earlier pop music landmarks such as Thriller and Off the Wall, and Jackson 5 hit singles like One More Chance.

But when an artist of his stature dies, it revives sales of once mediocre albums, spurs a hunt for unreleased tracks and jump-starts efforts to do repackage albums and singles.

Apple Inc's iTunes, the biggest music retailer in the United States, reported on Friday that Jackson albums accounted for the top-nine sellers, led by a hits package and his 1982 blockbuster Thriller.

A Sony spokesman said the label had not decided what to do with its Jackson record catalog. A spokeswoman for Universal, which owns the Motown label that produced the Jackson 5's albums, did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

What likely will happen, Rosso said, is that Sony and Universal will let fans mine Jackson's existing catalog.

"And then a year from today, they will come out with some sort of memorial box set," he said.

Sales spike

Sales of Jackson's music, videos and other goods are spiking on the Internet and at major retailers.

"We have seen a significant increase in sales of Michael Jackson CDs at our stores within the past day or so," said Joshua Thomas, spokesman for retailer Target Corp.

At online retailer Inc, Jackson CDs and DVDs sold out in the first few minutes following reports of Jackson's death. Amazon sold more Jackson merchandise in the past 24 hours than in the prior 11 years, a spokesman said.

Online auction site eBay Inc also reported a spike in Jackson products, with new listings up 61%.

The world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc, declined to comment on sales of Jackson albums and products.

AMI Entertainment Network said its 15,000 digital jukeboxes across the United States saw a 2,000 percent increase in Jackson song downloads on Thursday. People ordered more than 50,000 songs, with Billie Jean, Thriller and Beat It the most popular.

Media outlets are also meeting the anticipated demand.

Time magazine will issue a commemorative issue on Monday for $5.99. Newsweek, owned by The Washington Post Co, will give Jackson its cover and an essay for its new edition.

Rock magazine Rolling Stone plans a special "book-a-zine" issue, with 450,000 copies planned at a price of $9.99 each.

Pop music history is sprinkled with artists from Elvis Presley to Marvin Gaye whose work earns cash long after they die. When their unexpected deaths make big news, some say thinking about profits might be unseemly, but inevitable.

"I don't think you can avoid the fact that whenever a major icon dies, you're going to have a huge amount of marketing and figurines and all that junk," said Elayne Rapping, an American studies professor at the University of Buffalo in New York.

David Glew, former chairman of Epic Records and a music executive who worked with Jackson, said record companies handled those situations differently, but they had to respond.

"People want some tangible connection to their hero," said Dennis McNally, Grateful Dead biographer and ex-publicist for the popular band. "The merchandising departments of his record companies will be glad to oblige."

What's your reaction to Michael Jackson's death? Discuss it on the message board below. Or if you have a special story to share about him email us at

Flashback: Jacko to sing final shows in London (1:46) 

Flashback: Jacko to sing final shows in London (1:46)

Michael Jackson

Drug use key question in Jackson's sudden death (Source: Reuters)

ReutersPop star Michael Jackson waves to his fans as he arrives

at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse

Drug use key question in Jackson's sudden death

Published: 6:53AM Saturday June 27, 2009

Source: Reuters

One day after Michael Jackson's sudden death, speculation turned to what killed the 50-year-old "King of Pop" on the cusp of a long-awaited comeback concert series.

A family attorney said on Friday he had been concerned that Jackson's use of prescription drugs for dancing-related injuries would eventually prove fatal and that the entertainer's inner circle had ignored his warnings.

A Jackson family member told celebrity website the singer had been given an injection of the painkiller Demerol before he went into full cardiac arrest at his rental home around midday on Thursday. TMZ soon after broke the news that Jackson had died at a Los Angeles hospital.

The Los Angeles County Coroner's office said the autopsy would begin Friday morning, but it could take six to eight weeks to determine a cause of death, which will likely have to wait for the return of toxicology tests. Those tests will determine if Jackson had any drugs, alcohol or prescription medications in his system.

At dawn on Hollywood Boulevard, fans gathered at Jackson's star on the Walk of Fame to honor the former child prodigy who became one of the best-selling pop artists of all time before descending into a strange and reclusive lifestyle amid accusations of child molestation.

"His music was the soundtrack of my childhood," said Tassa Hampton, 32, as she knelt to light a white votive candle amid a growing pile of flowers and posters. "I didn't realise what a loss it was until he was gone."

Jackson's passing was front-page news around the world as airwaves filled with his greatest hits from "Thriller" to "Billie Jean" and social networking sites were bombarded with messages and tributes from fans and musicians.

"It's so sad and shocking," former Beatle Paul McCartney said. "I feel privileged to have hung out and worked with Michael. He was a massively talented boy man with a gentle soul. His music will be remembered forever."

The family has yet to announce details of funeral services. Jackson's body was flown by helicopter from the hospital to the coroner's office late Thursday.

Lawyer Brian Oxman, a spokesman for the Jackson family, told CBS's The Early Show on Friday that he had been concerned about the prescription drugs that Jackson took due to injuries suffered while performing.

"I had warned everyone that I could warn and I told them that one day, Michael Jackson is going to wake up dead, which is a very odd way of putting it," Oxman said.

"I do not want to point fingers at anyone because I want to hear what the toxicology report says and the coroner says but the plain fact of the matter is that Michael Jackson had prescription drugs at his disposal at all times," he said.

Detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department's Robbery Homicide division searched Jackson's home in the upscale Holmby Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles at the behest of Chief William Bratton.

The doctor who lived at Michael Jackson's house is missing, TMZ reported. A law enforcement source told TMZ that the doctor, whose name is not known, gave Jackson an injection before he died.

Facing a battered reputation and a mountain of debt which The Wall Street Journal reported ran to $500 million, Jackson had spent the last two months rehearsing for the London concerts, including Wednesday at the huge Staples Center arena, home to the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team.

A complex process began in London to refund ticketholders, including people who bought tickets for sell-out shows from unauthorised dealers. A pair of "VIP" passes was offered on e-Bay recently for 16,000 pounds.

In death, Jackson's music enjoyed a commercial renaissance that had eluded him for years. His songs surged to the top 15 slots on online retailer Inc's best-selling albums within hours.

Jackson dominated the charts in the 1980s and was one of the most successful entertainers of all time, with a lifetime sales tally estimated at 750 million records, 13 Grammy Awards and several seminal music videos.

"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."

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 J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan stories, and built 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.

Despite reports of Jackson's ill health, the promoters of the London shows, AEG Live, said in March that Jackson passed a 4-1/2 hour physical examination with independent doctors.

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 aninstant 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.

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, known for a brief public appearance when his father displayed him to fans in Germany by holding him over the railing of a hotel balcony.

What's your reaction to Michael Jackson's death? Discuss it on the message board below. Or if you have a special story to share about him email us at

Kiwi fans mourn Jackson's death (Source: Reuters)

ReutersMichael Jackson

Retailers in New Zealand are starting to sell out of Michael Jackson music videos and DVDs just hours after his death. Kiwi fans of the King of Pop have been lamenting the loss of a music icon beloved by millions around the world. Jackson first visited New Zealand in 1973, as a shy youngster with the Jackson Five. But it's his 1996 concert that many fans remember when Jackson was welcomed to New Zealand by Sir Howard Morrison. Memories of those sell-out shows are still strong with the home-town warm-up act. "I was just privileged to be part of that. I knew I was really lucky. I had a sweet gig," says Annie Crummer, one of the singers in the act. Tracy Magan, who promoted the concert, says she "can just remember the joy in him as he was watching his audience." Even Prime Minister John Key has a memorable memory of the entertainer. "I saw him at London live at Wembley once and I have to say it was a magnificent concert," said Key. Record stores were playing back-to-back number ones after Jackson's death on Friday after his death was confirmed.

And while the world prepares to farewell a superstar, his music will live on across the globe.

World in shock at Jackson's death (Source: Reuters)

ReutersMichael Jackson

World in shock at Jackson's death

Published: 2:01PM Friday June 26, 2009

Source: Reuters

Michael Jackson's sudden death at the age of 50 brought reactions from across the entertainment world and elsewhere. Below are some of those reactions.

  • Music producer Quincy Jones, who collaborated with Jackson on three of his best-selling albums, "Off the Wall," "Thriller" and "Bad," said in a statement: 
    "I am absolutely devastated at this tragic and unexpected news. For Michael to be taken away from us so suddenly at this young age, I just don't have the words. 
    He added: "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's sister, Janet, was grief stricken and devastated at the sudden loss of her brother and flying back to California to be with her family, according to a statement released through her manager. 
  • Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of rock great Elvis Presley and who was married to Jackson in the mid-1990s, said in a statement: 
    "I am so very sad and confused with every emotion possible. 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. 
  • Actress Brooke Shields, a longtime friend of the "King of Pop," said in a statement released through her publicist: 
    "My heart is overcome with sadness for the devastating loss of my true friend Michael. He was an extraordinary friend, artist and contributor to the world. I join his family and his fans in celebrating his incredible life and mourning his untimely passing." 
  • Pop star Madonna told People magazine: "I can't stop crying over the sad news ... I have always admired Michael Jackson. The world has lost one of the greats but his music will live on forever. My heart goes out to his 3 children and other members of his family. God bless." 
  • Representatives for actress Elizabeth Taylor, another of the singer's longtime friends, said she was "too devastated by the passing of her dear friend Michael Jackson to issue a statement at this time" but promised one later. 
  • Former Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash, who performed Jackson's 1991 hit "Black or White," said: "Really sad news about Michael. He was talent from on high." 
  • Entertainer Liza Minnelli told Entertainment Tonight: "He was a kind, genuine and wonderful man. He was also one of the greatest entertainers that ever lived. I loved him very much and I will miss him every remaining day of my life." 
  • Neil Portnow, president and CEO of the Recording Academy, the group that organizes the Grammy Awards, said in a statement: 
    "Rarely has the world received a gift with the magnitude of artistry, talent and vision as Michael Jackson. He was a true musical icon whose identifiable voice, innovative dance moves, stunning musical versatility and sheer star power carried him from childhood to world wide acclaim. 
    "A 13-time Grammy recipient, Michael's career transcends musical and cultural genres and his contributions will always keep him in our hearts and memories." 
  • Rudy Clay, mayor of Jackson's hometown, Gary, Indiana, called Jackson the "world's greatest entertainer," who had made Gary proud. 
    "Wherever a person from Gary, Indiana, went in the world, people would say, 'That's Michael Jackson's home town.' So Michael helped Gary just by being from Gary," Clay told the Chicago Tribune.
  • Rapper Chuck D of Public Enemy said that Jackson had raised standards of music and performance to new heights, but was a victim of the culture of celebrity.  "Jackson probably died of a broken heart and a broken soul. ... He was a victim of the drug of celebrity and he was never trained to wean himself off it."
  • Motown Records founder Berry Gordy said in a statement that he was shocked beyond words to hear of Jackson's death. "Its like a dream - a bad dream. This cannot be! How can Michael Jackson not be here?" Gordy said.
  • Filmmaker Steven Spielberg told Entertainment Weekly magazine: "Just as there will never be another Fred Astaire or Chuck Berry or Elvis Presley, there will never be anyone comparable to Michael Jackson. His talent, his wonderment and his mystery make him legend."
  • Disco star Donna Summer, in an interview with CNN, said Jackson's death came as a total shock. Of Jackson's talents as a performer, Summer said: "His greatness was perfection. Michael was one of those people who wouldn't stop until he was perfect and he would keep going after that."
  • Spoon-bender Uri Geller, long a close friend of Jackson, said of the entertainer's life and death: "He lost his childhood, it was gone, finished. And then the trauma of suddenly becoming so famous, becoming a legend, becoming a millionaire, this is hard."

Doctors' role in Jackson death scrutinised (Source: Kevin Mazur/AEG/Getty Images via

Kevin Mazur/AEG/Getty Images via image.netMichael Jackson's last show rehearsal

Doctors' role in Jackson death scrutinised

Published: 7:05PM Sunday July 05, 2009

Source: ONE News

The role doctors played in the death of Michael Jackson is firmly under the spotlight again.

And there's criticism the lavish memorial will leave the city of Los Angeles as financially stricken as the singer himself.

Fans from all over the world are 'moonwalking' into Los Angeles.

Not merely an influx, it's a quest for 17,500 prized tickets to the official memorial.

They're taking worldwide applications now. Fans give their first and last names and submit their application.

It's perhaps too easy. In the last two days, more than a million and a quarter people have registered for a spectacle for which no performers or details have been announced.

Los Angeles authorities will reportedly cordon off several blocks around the Staples Centre where the memorial will be held.

And 2500 policemen will be performing - crowd control, at a cost of almost $NZ4 million.

All this, while the city is more than $750 million in the red. There has been no offer yet from the Jackson family to meet costs.

"Some of our city employees are getting pink slips. We're in a major financial crunch," says Dennis Zine of the Los Angeles City Council.

At Los Angeles' premier celebrity cemetery, the rumours are flying thick and fast that Jackson is being held there and that he will be buried there on Monday morning. Officials deny all this.

Website TMZ is reporting more murky history from a Jackson-associated doctor. In 2000, Dr Allan Metzger was given a public reprimand by the Medical Board of California for writing fraudulent prescriptions for Jackson's sister, Janet.

Metzger accompanied Jackson on the History tour in 1996.

California state Attorney-General Jerry Brown is adding his office's weight to the drugs investigation.

Brown was instrumental in following the drug trail when Playboy pin-up Anna Nicole Smith died of a prescription drug overdose two years ago. Now he's seeing if the same scenario stopped the King of Pop.

Madonna pays tribute

Meanwhile, tributes to Michael Jackson keep on flowing, the latest celebrity praise coming from the Queen of Pop, Madonna.

The accolades came during a concert at London's 02 Arena where Jackson was due to start a 50-concert season next week.

"All right people, let's give it up to one of the greatest artists the world has ever known, Michael Jackson. Long live the king," said Madonna.

Jackson's death could benefit Dutch fund (Source: Reuters)

ReutersA banner of the late Michael Jackson

Jackson's death could benefit Dutch fund 

Published: 1:13AM Saturday July 04, 2009

Source: Reuters

For Dutch pension fund ABP, Michael Jackson's death could be good for business. 
The passing of the man called King of Pop last week has created a run on his music, which is partly owned by Dutch state pension fund ABP.

It is the world's third-largest state pension fund after Japan's and Norway's. 
"There are always certain songs that for whatever reason, in this case tragic, suddenly become very popular. The last fact is a basis for the investment," an ABP spokesman said. 
ABP bought two music catalogues last year, including the rights to some Michael Jackson songs like You Are Not Alone, according to the website of Imagem Music Group, which manages the music assets for ABP. 
Apple Inc's iTunes, the biggest music retailer in the United States, reported last week that Jackson albums accounted for the top nine sellers, led by a hits package and his 1982 blockbuster Thriller. 
The day after Jackson's death, online retailer Inc. sold more Jackson merchandise than in the prior 11 years, an Amazon spokesman said last week. 
The ABP spokesman declined to say what return the fund expects on its Michael Jackson songs but ABP said last year it expected its total portfolio of music rights to return just over eight percent annually. 
ABP bought its pop music portfolio for 140 million Euros last year from Universal Music Group, while it paid 126 million pounds for the classical music portfolio of private equity firm HgCapital Trust. 
Each time a CD is sold, or a radio station plays a song ABP owns, the fund makes money. 
ABP, which invests in music to diversify its 173 billion Euro ($383 billion) portfolio, also holds the rights to pop artists such as Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Kaiser Chiefs, and classical composers such as Stravinsky and Rachmaninov. 
ABP was interested in buying the Beatles music collection that Michael Jackson owned if the Jackson family decided to sell, the spokesman said. 
"We are always interested in good investment opportunities. The Beatles catalogue is of course one of the most beautiful in pop history," said the ABP spokesman.

Jackson leaves everything in a family trust

Published: 5:20AM Thursday July 02, 2009

Source: Reuters

Lawyers for Michael Jackson filed the pop star's 2002 will in court on Thursday that puts his multimillion-dollar estate in a family trust for his three children and his mother, but were denied a bid to take immediate control of his music fortune. 
Funeral plans remained undetermined, and Jackson's family said in a statement that no public or private ceremony would be held at the singer's Neverland Valley ranch in central California.

The will, signed in 2002, values Jackson's estate at more than $US500 million and puts his assets in the Michael Jackson Family Trust, which ultimately benefits his three children, his mother and unnamed charities.

The will names Jackson's mother, Katherine, 79, as guardian of the children: Prince Michael Jackson Jr. 12, Paris Michael Katherine Jackson, 11, and Prince Michael Joseph Jackson, II, 7.

If she cannot fulfill the guardianship duties, pop singer Diana Ross, formerly of the Supremes and a long-time Jackson friend, is nominated to be guardian of the children.

The five-page document said "I have intentionally omitted to provide for my former wife, Deborah Rowe Jackson."

On Tuesday, before the will was filed, Katherine Jackson was named temporary guardian of the children and administrator of the estate by a Los Angeles court until a hearing on July 6.

The 2002 document names Los Angeles-based attorney John Branca, a long-time Jackson lawyer, and music industry executive John McClain as co-executors. A third co-executor named in the will has since resigned.

Lawyers for Branca and McClain asked a judge on Thursday to immediately appoint them executors and overturn Katherine Jackson's temporary administration of the estate, but the judge denied their request.

"I understand your argument that there was a race to the court house. It seems to me that we should know by Monday if there's another will out there,"' said Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff. 
No Neverland funeral

Since his death last week, speculation has run rampant that there would be multiple wills and a legal battle over Jackson's estate, which includes part ownership in a Beatles music catalog and Jackson's own music company.

Jackson was said to be $US500 million in debt when he died, but his assets have been reported to be worth as much as $US1 billion, which would roughly approximate the will's estimated value of Jackson's estate that "exceeds $US500 million."

But immediately unclear is whether Branca and McClain based the value of the estate in the will at the time of the singer's death in 2002 or in current, 2009 dollars.

That value could rise over time if his popularity in death grows, as with other entertainers like Elvis Presley. Jackson remains among the best-selling pop stars ever, and his 1982 hit Thriller is the top-selling album of all time.

Attorney David Seeley, general counsel for the Marlon Brando Living Trust, said people came "out of the woodwork making all sorts of claims" after the legendary actor died.

"I assume that there will be all sorts of claims with Michael Jackson as well, due to the nature of his celebrity, and the amount of people that were around and the amount of money that's involved," Seeley said.

Already one person has surfaced. London resident Nona Paris Lola A. Jackson filed a petition in a Los Angeles court on Thursday saying she was Jackson's wife and his estate and kids should belong to her.

Her past claims have been widely dismissed by legal experts and others, who have said there was no evidence she ever had a relationship with the pop star.

Meanwhile, Jackson's family issued a statement that refuted speculation of a funeral at Neverland, which is located near Santa Barbara, California, about a four-hour drive from Los Angeles.

"Contrary to previous news reports, the Jackson family is officially stating there will be no public or private viewing at Neverland," the statement said.

Other reports surfaced citing plans for a public memorial service and private family funeral at various locations around Los Angeles, but none could be confirmed and spokespersons for Jackson's family did not return calls or e-mails for comment.

Jackson leaves everything in a family trust (Source: Kevin Mazur/AEG/Getty Images via

Kevin Mazur/AEG/Getty Images via image.netMichael Jackson's last show rehearsal
Jackson fans dance, cheer his life in NY (Source: Reuters)

ReutersFans remember Michael Jackson during the Michael Jackson

public memorial at Apollo Theater in New York

Jackson fans dance, cheer his life in NY

Published: 9:04AM Wednesday July 01, 2009

Source: Reuters

Michael Jackson fans danced in the aisles of Harlem's famed Apollo Theater to celebrate his life, cheering and placing tributes on the stage where the King of Pop performed as a child.

A line stretched for several city blocks from the theater with fans chanting Jackson's name to passing tourist buses and singing his songs as they waited to see a 45-minute music and video tribute being repeated throughout the day.

"He was my first love," said Wilma McClelland, 48, from the Queens borough of New York, as she waited in line. "We have grown up with him."

Jackson, who died on Thursday, first performed at the Apollo Amateur Night at age 9 with his brothers. Their group, the Jackson 5, won the competition in 1969, when the pop singer was 11 years old, performing Smokey Robinson's Who's Lovin' You.

Wearing a badge of Jackson and carrying posters and music of the singer, Kenya Dowe, 43, from Harlem, arrived at 10 pm on Monday to be one of the first in line.

"I wanted to be a part of the celebration for a legend, an icon, a global humanitarian," said Dowe, holding an umbrella to shade herself from the sun. "Michael Jackson is a beautiful person, he deserves this. I wish he could see this in life."

Student Ashley Allder, 20, traveled from Piscataway, New Jersey, and wore one sparkling glove that she made herself and a badge with a picture of Jackson and the words "peace at last." 
"Even though I didn't grow up with him as long as other people did, he still touched me, he still made me want to be who I am," she said. "I love Michael Jackson so much."

"Feel the love"

On the stage a spotlight shone on the singer's signature fedora, sequined glove and sunglasses placed on a stool next to a microphone. Jackson's hits such as Bad, ABC and Billie Jean played.

"He's bad, he's our brother, he's our friend," Al Sharpton, civil rights campaigner and friend of Jackson, told the first audience inside the theater. "Let's love Michael today."

Jackson died from cardiac arrest at his rented Los Angeles home, days before he was due to perform a string of concerts in London that were designed to revive a career grounded by his 2005 trial and acquittal on child molestation charges.

"No matter all of the trials and tribulations he went through, I still love him regardless," said Barbara Brown, 46, a security guard from the Bronx. "Michael is a part of my household, that's my baby. He will always be in my heart."

Speculation about what caused Jackson's death has centered on prescription drug use but the results of toxicology tests are expected to take several more weeks.

Reports of Jackson's funeral arrangements have trickled out piecemeal, with conflicting sources speaking of a public viewing at Jackson's Neverland Valley Ranch in central California on Friday or Saturday, or possibly both.

On the streets near the Apollo, vendors sold T-shirts, hats and posters of Jackson.

"It helps me grieve a little to meet other fans," said Clara Edwards, 56, a hair stylist from Brooklyn who was selling posters from a table she had set up about a block from the Apollo. "It's like a trauma."

Carrying Jackson records, Gordon Penn, 48, a chauffeur from Harlem, said, "We love him dearly, we miss him dearly. I came here to feel the love."

Jackson autopsy leak denied, family seeks custody (Source: Reuters)

ReutersPop star Michael Jackson waves to his fans as he arrives at

the Santa Barbara County Courthouse

Jackson autopsy leak denied, family seeks custody 

Published: 7:12AM Tuesday June 30, 2009

Source: Reuters

The Los Angeles coroner's office dismissed as inaccurate a British newspaper report that said Michael Jackson was emaciated and almost bald when he died suddenly last week.

As the Jackson family clan gathered in Los Angeles to consider funeral details befitting the worldwide outpouring of affection for the King of Pop, the singer's mother filed court papers seeking custody of his three children.

Katherine Jackson asked the Los Angeles Superior court to appoint her guardian of Prince Michael, 12, Paris Katherine, 11, and Prince Michael II, 7, saying they have "no relationship with their biological mother."

The first two are Jackson's children from his ex-wife Debbie Rowe and the third from an unidentified surrogate mother. A hearing was set for August 3.

Two inconclusive autopsies have been carried out on Jackson - one by the Los Angeles County Coroner's office and one by a private pathologist. Toxicology tests are expected to take several weeks.

Jackson, 50, died suddenly of cardiac arrest at his rented Los Angeles home on Thursday, just a few weeks before a planned string of 50 comeback concerts in London.

Assistant chief coroner Ed Winter said on Monday details reported in the British Sun tabloid about Jackson's condition did not come from either the private or the county autopsy.

"I don't know where that information came from, or who that information came from. It is not accurate. Some of it is totally false," Winters told reporters.

Claiming it had seen a leaked autopsy report, The Sun said Jackson was wearing a wig when he died to cover his "peach fuzz" hair, weighed only about 51 kg, that his hips, thighs and shoulders were riddled with needle wounds, and that his stomach was empty apart from partially dissolved pills.

Worldwide tribute

Jackson admitted in 1993 that he had an addiction to painkillers, but he had recently passed a lengthy medical exam ahead of the London concerts.

Civil rights leader Al Sharpton met with the family in Los Angles on Monday to discuss a worldwide tribute to Jackson and plans for preserving a legacy that changed the shape of music videos and influenced a new generation of R&B singers.

"I'm here to make sure Michael gets in death what he never got in life - he never got credit," Sharpton told reporters after arriving in Los Angeles, where he attended the Black Entertainment Television awards with Jackson's father Joe.

Joe Jackson told reporters on Sunday that funeral arrangements for the King of Pop were still being discussed but a family friend said services could take place on Wednesday and the body could be buried at Jackson's famous Neverland Ranch in central California.

Tension over Jackson's mysterious death surfaced at the BET Awards, which became a tribute to the singer's musical genius. Some stars bristled over media coverage of Jackson's downward spiral during the last decade, filled with accusations of child molestation and bizarre behavior.

Los Angeles police said after questioning Jackson's personal doctor over the weekend that they did not consider him to be a suspect. Dr Conrad Murray, who was at Jackson's side when he died, told police he did not inject the singer with painkillers before his cardiac arrest on Thursday.

Jackson matriarch seeks guardianship of his three children

Coroner says some of Sun autopsy report totally false

Funeral plans still undetermined for King of Pop

Police find no crime by Jackson doctor (Source: Reuters)

ReutersMichael Jackson

Police find no crime by Jackson doctor

Published: 9:03AM Monday June 29, 2009

Source: Reuters

Los Angeles police investigating Michael Jackson's sudden death said on Monday they do not consider his doctor a suspect despite having questioned him about his presence at the time of the pop idol's fatal cardiac arrest.  

The Jackson family had yet to announce funeral arrangements for the 50-year-old King of Pop. 

But a family friend told Reuters that a service could be held on Thursday and that the family wanted to bury Jackson at his famous Neverland Ranch.  

The death of one of the most gifted musical performers of his generation prompted tributes and condolences, from US President Barack Obama to legions of fans in Hollywood. 

Top performers were set to honor Jackson at the BET Awards in Los Angeles on Monday.  

It was still unclear what, if any, role Jackson's prescription medicines might have played in his sudden death on Friday. The family carried out its own autopsy on Sunday after the Los Angeles Coroner said it would need four to six more weeks to determine the exact cause of death.  

Late on Sunday, police interviewed cardiologist Dr Conrad Murray in a second meeting that lasted three hours. The doctor was hired ahead of Jackson's comeback concert series in London this month.  

"He was interviewed as a person of interest, not a suspect," Officer Norma Eisenman, a Los Angeles Police spokeswoman, told reporters.  

A police statement added that "Dr Murray was cooperative and provided information that will aid the investigation." 
According to media reports and a family friend, Jackson was injected with the narcotic painkiller Demerol before he went into cardiac arrest, and Murray was trying to revive him when paramedics arrived.  

The Los Angeles Times reported Monday that the interview with Murray revealed "no red flag" indicating criminal activity or the cause of death.  

And Murray's lawyers said in a statement that he helped police "identify the circumstance around the death ... and clarified some inconsistencies."  


Stacy Brown, an author who co-wrote the book "Michael Jackson: The Man Behind the Mask," told reporters on Monday that the singer's family aimed to have a funeral on Thursday. His body would be buried at Neverland, the California ranch where Jackson lived a reclusive and fantasy-like life.  

Brown also said a family source told him Jackson was injected with the drug Demerol at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, shortly before he died.  

"They have been concerned about his addiction to medicines for years," Brown said. "It's been no family secret that they've been trying to get him help for his addiction."  

Jackson's family was eager to take the spotlight off the singer's troubled last decade, in which he was tried and acquitted of child molestation and was vilified for eccentric behavior.  

Jackson's father, Joe, on Sunday urged fans not to despair because the singer "will continue to live on in each and every one of you."  

President Barack Obama wrote to Jackson's family expressing his condolences, White House adviser David Axelrod told NBC news television show Meet the Press on Monday.  

Fans continued to stream past Jackson's star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, leaving flowers and singing his best-known songs like Thriller and Billie Jean.  

Watch the prisoners' tribute by clicking the play arrow.

Jackson's family wants second autopsy

Published: 11:38AM Sunday June 28, 2009

Source: Reuters

Jackson's family wants second autopsy (Source: Reuters)

ReutersJoe Jackson (R), father of Michael Jackson, with the Reverend Jesse Jackson (L) and his son Yusef DuBois Jackson (C)

Michael Jackson's family gathered at his parents' suburban Los Angeles home on Sunday to make funeral arrangements for the troubled King of Pop amid reports that they are seeking a second, independent autopsy.

The entertainer's father, Joseph, issued a statement calling his son's death "one of the darkest moments of our lives" and urging fans not to despair.

Jackson's body was returned to his family on Saturday after an examination by the Los Angeles County coroner's office failed to determine what killed the 50-year-old entertainer, pending toxicology tests that were expected to take weeks.

Meanwhile a lawyer for Dr. Conrad Murray, who was at Jackson's rented mansion in the Holmby Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles when he collapsed, said the physician had agreed to answer questions from police detectives.

"Dr. Murray intends to fully cooperate with investigators and law enforcement as they attempt to piece together what happened," attorney Bill Stradley told Reuters in an interview.

"Contrary to what has been out there, Dr. Murray has been cooperating with authorities from the outset and will continue to do so," Stradley said. "The impression that he has been hiding from authorities, that's not correct."

Murray was desperately trying to revive Jackson when paramedics arrived and he rode with the singer in an ambulance to the hospital where the pop star was pronounced dead.

Police have said they wanted to further question Murray, a Houston-based cardiologist, about the circumstances of Jackson's death but had not been able to arrange an interview.

Murray's silver Mercedes was towed from the home where Jackson died so detectives could search it for evidence and medication. 

Moving vans empty home 

The celebrity website reported that a second autopsy was underway at an undisclosed location in Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon, on the orders of the Jackson family.

Speculation has centered on Jackson's use of prescription drugs and reports that he was injected with the narcotic painkiller Demerol shortly before he went into cardiac arrest.

Coroner's officials have said that with no outward signs of trauma to Jackson's body or evidence of foul play, they would have to wait for the results of toxicology tests and other studies to establish a cause of death.

Few other details were released about the autopsy's findings, but Fox News reported on its website that investigators had found his body to be healthier and stronger than they had expected, with some scarring on the face.

Moving van crews emptied the rental home of Jackson's belongings, reportedly on the orders of his father, Joseph, who was concerned they would be stolen.

In his statement to fans, Joseph Jackson said: "In one of the darkest moments of our lives we find it hard to find the words appropriate to this sudden tragedy we all had to encounter."

He added: "We miss Michael endlessly, our pain cannot be described in words. ... But please do not despair, because Michael will continue to live on in each and every one of you."

Fans thronged outside the family home in suburban Encino, festooning a fence bordering the property with signs, balloons, flowers and stuffed animals.

"Michael was a flower of the world," 48-year-old artist Karen Mack said as she laid two paintings devoted to her idol along the fence. "His strangeness was an uncomfortable factor but everything else made up for it."

Facing a battered reputation and a mountain of debt that The Wall Street Journal reported ran to $US500 million, Jackson spent the last two months of his life rehearsing for a series of London concerts that were seen as a make-or-break comeback for the man who dominated the pop charts in the 1980s.

If you or someone you know is planning to go to Michael Jackson's funeral ONE News would like to hear from you. Phone 09 916 7266 or email

Jackson's death leaves Beatles songs in limbo (Source: Reuters)

ReutersA banner of the late Michael Jackson

Jackson's death leaves Beatles songs in limbo

Published: 1:31AM Sunday June 28, 2009

The Fab Four's prized catalogue - specifically 267 songs mostly written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney - is embarking on a long and winding road of ownership uncertainty following the death of Michael Jackson on Friday.

The pop singer and Sony Corp's Sony Music arm operated a lucrative joint venture that either owns or administers the copyrights to about 750,000 compositions written by the likes of Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Taylor Swift and the Jonas Brothers.

Industry analysts estimate that Sony/ATV Music Publishing is worth at least US$1 billion (NZ$1.55bn), making Jackson one savvy entertainer. His initial investment cost him US$47.5 million (NZ$75.76m) in 1985. Music publishing is considered a license to print money. Not quite as exciting as the piracy-ravaged recorded-music side, it involves collecting royalties from such diverse avenues as downloads, radio airplay and videogames.

But mystery now surrounds the beneficial ownership of Jackson's stake. According to a lawsuit filed in 2002 by a creditor, he secured bank loans totaling US$270 million (NZ$419.26m) two years earlier using both his Sony/ATV stake and the copyrights to his own songs as collateral.

Jackson lived an extravagant lifestyle, even as his commercial appeal dwindled amid damaging child-abuse allegations and changing music tastes. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2005 that his cash reserves ran so low earlier that year that he worried about paying his electric bill. The paper reported earlier this month that he had racked up about $500 million of debt.

A clearer picture of his finances will emerge during the administration period of his estate that usually lasts about 18 months, said Renee Gabbard of the law firm Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker in Costa Mesa, California.

Jackson's executors will evaluate his assets, file the estate tax return and invite creditors to submit invoices, said Gabbard, who has a number of wealthy clients with entertainment-related estates.

he process of valuing estate assets, especially intellectual property like music copyrights, is "very complex" and often takes "quite a while," said Gabbard.

"When you have entertainers and musicians they usually have quite extensive royalty contracts. It's very tough to put a value on a catalog of songs," she said.

Jackson and Sony formed their joint venture in 1995, with the singer contributing ATV Songs, whose 4,000 tunes included most of the Beatles catalogue. He had bought ATV a decade earlier from Australian businessman Robert Holmes a Court, famously outbidding McCartney in the process.

Jackson was not involved in the day-to-day operations of Sony/ATV, but as a lover of the songwriting process was known to be "incredibly proud" of the company and its fast growth, according to a publishing industry source.

A spokesman for Sony/ATV declined to comment.

His stakes in both Sony/ATV and in Mijac, which holds his own copyrights, were owned by trusts. It was not clear if they were irrevocable or not. If they are revocable, then they could be dismantled to satisfy creditors, Gabbard said.

The estate would first pay federal taxes owed on Jackson's assets, most notably the publishing companies. The remaining assets then would go to satisfy creditors and the balance probably would be placed into separate trusts for his beneficiaries, most likely his children, Gabbard said.

But the publishing industry source said it was too premature to speculate about a possible change in ownership at Sony/ATV, which is run by music industry veteran Martin Bandier.

Additionally, each side is reportedly entitled to make a counter-offer if the other side lines up a buyer, or to bid for the other half it does not own.

The Beatles catalogue, meanwhile, just keeps raking in money. The group's CDs will be reissued on September 9, the same day that a Fab Four version of the "Rock Band" videogame hits stores.

If you or someone you know is planning to go to Michael Jackson's funeral ONE News would like to hear from you. Phone 09 916 7266 or email

Web Hosting Companies