As the world awoke to the news that Michael Jackon’s death in a Los Angeles hospital from cardiac arrest had been confirmed – the likes of Madonna and his ex-wife Lisa-Marie Presley began paying tribute to a man perhaps best described as the ‘king of pop’.
Madonna issued a statement saying ‘I can’t stop crying over the sad news. I’ve always admired Michael Jackson the world has lost one of its greats but his music will live on forever. My heart goes out to his three children and other members of his family. God bless.”
She was joined by singer/songwriter Celine Dion, who echoed Madonna’s sentiments of shock and deep sadness ‘I am shocked. I am overwhelmed by this tragedy. Michael Jackson has been an idol for me all my life. He was not only a talented person but he was unique – a genius. It’s such a loss. It feels like when Kennedy died, when Elvis died. My sympathy goes to the family. It’s a big loss and it’s not even sinking in right now.”
As well as statements and press releases, other stars took to Twitter and Facebook to express their grief, with hip hop star Missy Elliot posting a link on Twitter to a YouTube video called Michael Jackson Best Dance Moves, adding the message: “A little something to remember the KING by”. Lindsay Lohan, Perez Hilton and even Kate Price Tweeted about the news.
As more and more stars speak out, it becomes increasingly clear how much of a varied, influential and decade-spanning career Michael had – with both Quincy Jones, the producer of Jackon’s biggest selling album Thriller, and Justin Timberlake expressing their sadness at losing a man who ‘had it all’.
Michael’s death marks the end of one of the greatest, most surprising and, at times, controversial chapters in pop music history. A man who set an entirely new standard of performance and who bought a new energy to pop music, Michael can be credited with uniting ‘black’ and ‘white’ music through albums such as ‘Thriller’, which would go onto sell fifty million copies worldwide. Despite spending the latter part of his life as a near-recluse, hounded by rumours, allegations and intense media interest in his increasingly bizarre and questionable lifestyle; Michael had been engineering a comeback tour in an effort to bolster his public image and crumbling finances.
The speed at which his tickets sold out for London’s 02 arena clearly demonstrated that despite his public decline in popularity, his waning health and absence from the stage, Michael Jackson did, and will remain, as the King of Pop.
t5m have invited members of our Contributor Network to comment on today’s events – producer Stuart Colman has written about the high price of Michael’s fame, photographer and editor Amanda Eliasch has spoken to Michael’s personal stylist and Australian PR guru and aspiring novelist, Michele Nardelli has discussed how the ‘death’ of a contemporary has affected her.