Michael Jackson died after suffering a cardiac arrest, officials
confirmed, sending shockwaves around the entertainment world as stunned
stars and fans mourned the loss of the tortured music icon known as the
“King of Pop.”
Los Angeles County Coroner’s office spokesman
Lieutenant Fred Corral told CNN that Jackson, 50, was pronounced dead
at 2:26 pm (2126 GMT) local time, roughly two hours after paramedics
were first called to the star’s home.
“I can tell you at this
time that we were notified by West Los Angeles Police Department
detectives that Mr Jackson was transported… to the hospital, and upon
admitting, he was unresponsive and was pronounced dead at approximately
2:26 this afternoon,” Corral told CNN.
Corral said an autopsy would “most likely” be carried out on Friday but would not speculate on the exact cause of death.
is still ongoing. We will be responding to the hospital to move Mr
Jackson to our facility where he will be examined to determine the
cause of death,” Corral said.
“As far as I’m aware, we were
notified by LAPD detectives that Mr Jackson was brought in by
paramedics to the hospital in full cardiac arrest and then he was later
National and local television networks showed
hundreds of media and onlookers gathered at UCLA Medical Center, while
CNN showed police motorcycle riders surrounding Jackson’s rented
mansion as crowds of tourists and fans gathered, snapping photographs
of the property’s wrought iron gates.
Lana Brown, a 49-year-old tourist from Dallas, broke down in tears as she digested the news.
“Right today I can’t believe we might have lost the best entertainer this world has ever seen,” she told AFP.
CNN reported that several of Jackson’s siblings had gathered at the hospital.
death came as the singer prepared to make a keenly anticipated concert
comeback in London, his first series of shows in more than a decade and
the first since his 2005 acquittal on child molestation charges.
those concerts — billed as the “final curtain” — were thrown into
doubt after Jackson pushed back the opening dates last month.
of the concerts at the time stressed the delay was not linked to
Jackson’s health. When asked about Jackson’s physical condition, Randy
Phillips of concert backers AEG Live said: “I would trade my body for
his tomorrow. He’s in fantastic shape.”
While Jackson reigned
as the “King of Pop” in the 1980s, his once-stellar career was
overshadowed by his colorful public behavior, his startling physical
transformation and multiple allegations of child abuse.
lived as a virtual recluse following his 2005 acquittal on charges
including child molestation and plotting to kidnap his young accuser.
Despite his acquittal, the trial was a body blow from which the pop music superstar struggled to recover.
years later, Jackson was still worshipped by fans for revolutionizing
music, dance and music videos at the peak of his success.
attention however paid to him in recent years was less flattering,
focusing on apparent cosmetic surgery — which he denies — his baby
dangling antics and a decade of swirling child abuse allegations.
on August 29, 1958, Jackson made his show business debut with four of
his older brothers in the Jackson Five pop group, and went on to lead
the stage clan with a piping soprano and dazzling dance moves.
1969, the group had signed a contract with Motown Records, becoming one
of the last great acts to emerge from the legendary label.
Jacksons produced seven platinum singles for Motown, selling over a
million, and three multi-platinum albums, selling more than two
million. They moved to CBS’s Epic Records in 1976.
early success, Jackson was to recall those years as unhappy and lonely
ones. Eventually the family act broke up, as Jackson went solo.
1979, Quincy Jones produced Jackson’s first solo album for Epic, “Off
the Wall,” a huge disco-oriented success that sold 10 million copies.
teamed up again in 1982 for what would be Jackson’s breakthrough album
as a composer and co-producer, “Thriller,” which became the top-selling
album of all time, with sales exceeding 41 million.
Jones reacted with shock after being informed of Jackson’s death Thursday.
absolutely devastated at this news,” he said. “I just don’t have the
words. Divinity brought our souls together and allowed us to do what we
could do through the ’80s,” Jones said.
“To this day that music
is played in every corner of the world, and the reason is because he
had it all — talent, grace, and professionalism. I’ve lost my little
brother today and part of my soul has gone with him.”