Michael Jackson dead at 50

(Credit: Urbanite)

By Marlene Naanes

mnaanes@am-ny.com

Michael Jackson, the King of Pop who rose from child-singing sensation to become one of the greatest entertainers of all time, died Thursday in Los Angeles just as the troubled icon was on the cusp of a comeback tour.

The Gloved One, 50, reportedly collapsed at his Bel Air home, reportedly under cardiac arrest. Jackson had no pulse and was not breathing when paramedics arrived at 3:30 p.m. and began CPR, reports said.

Doctors at UCLA were not able to revive him and pronounced him dead. In Harlem, stunned crowds swarmed the streets and in Times Square, pedestrians gasped as the screens flashed the news.

“No joke. King of Pop is no more. Wow," said Michael Harris, 36. "It's like when Kennedy was assassinated. I will always remember being in Times Square when Michael Jackson died."

Jackson’s family, including his mother and sister, La Toya, ran to his hospital bedside to be with him, according to TMZ.

The cause of death remained unclear Thursday evening.“I must confess I am not surprised by today'stragic news. Michael has been ion an impossibly difficult and often self-destructive journey for years … A human simply can

not withstand this level stress," said Michael Levine, his former publicist.

His death shocked fans worldwide as they were expecting him to begin a world tour, which was reportedly going to help him out of financial straits.

Recently, Jackson had been frail but displayed “boundless energy” in practice sessions – four days a week, six hours a day -- for his comeback tour, Johnny Caswell, a principal at a Burbank, Calif. soundstage, told the LA Times.

Jackson’s career was filled with thrilling highs and chilling lows. He exploded on the world stage as a sweet-voiced and baby-faced front man of the Jackson 5 in the 1960s and later rocketed into superstardom as a solo artist with hits like “The Way You Make Me Feel” and “Thriller,” the 1982 album which became the biggest selling in history.

Jackson hysteria reached a fever pitch in the mid 1980s, accentuated by his iconic silver glove, surgically-changing face and dance moves punctuated by a crotch grab. As his career edged on, so did bizarre and troubling stories. He began donning outlandish costumes, surgical masks and surrounded himself with child “friends.”

He married Lisa Marie Presley in 1994 but they divorced. He then married Debbie Rowe and had two children. He later had a third child through a surrogate mother.

In 2005, he was acquitted of molesting a cancer-surviving 13-year-old boy, at his Neverland Ranch. He moved to the Person Gulf afterward but recently moved back to Los Angeles, no longer living at his fabled Neverland Ranch.

He is survived by his parents, Joe and Katherine; sisters Janet and La Toya; brothers; Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Jackie; and children; Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr., Paris Michael Katherine Jackson and Prince "Blanket" Michael Jackson II.

Quincy Jones, who produced “Thriller,” with Michael Jackson, tried to put his shock into words.

“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."

Tags: michael jackson , dead , entertainment

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