June 25, 2009

June 26, 2009: An excerpt from a story in the Los Angeles Times:

Michael Jackson’s life was infused with fantasy and tragedy


Michael Jackson was fascinated by celebrity tragedy. He had a statue of Marilyn Monroe in his home and studied the sad Hollywood exile of Charlie Chaplin. He married the daughter of Elvis Presley.

Jackson met his own untimely death Thursday at age 50, and more than any of those past icons, he left a complicated legacy. As a child star, he was so talented he seemed lit from within; as a middle-aged man, he was viewed as something akin to a visiting alien who, like Tinkerbell, would cease to exist if the applause ever stopped.

June 26, 2009: An excerpt from a story in USA Today:

Michael Jackson dies at 50


Michael Jackson, the self-described king of pop, is dead. He was 50.

He died Thursday, at 2:26 p.m. PT, at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, after he was taken ill at his rented home in nearby Holmby Hills about two hours earlier.

The cause of death was unclear, but his brother Jermaine Jackson said at a brief press conference late Thursday that he appeared to have suffered cardiac arrest at home. The official cause won’t be known until after an autopsy. Jackson’s personal physician was with him when he was taken ill and attempted to resuscitate him, as did arriving paramedics, Jermaine Jackson said. He was unconscious when the ambulance delivered him to the hospital.

The county coroner’s office said it would investigate the circumstances of the death, which stunned fans and foes alike as the news circled the globe Thursday afternoon. Los Angeles police also will investigate, which is common in a high-profile case.

June 26, 2009: An excerpt from a story in The New York Times:

Michael Jackson, Pop Icon, Is Dead at 50


LOS ANGELES — For his legions of fans, he was the Peter Pan of pop music: the little boy who refused to grow up. But on the verge of another attempted comeback, he is suddenly gone, this time for good.

Michael Jackson, whose quintessentially American tale of celebrity and excess took him from musical boy wonder to global pop superstar to sad figure haunted by lawsuits, paparazzi and failed plastic surgery, was pronounced dead on Thursday afternoon at U.C.L.A. Medical Center after arriving in a coma, a city official said. Mr. Jackson was 50, having spent 40 of those years in the public eye he loved.

June 26, 2009: An excerpt from a story in the New York Post:

Mass Mourning Results in Web Crash


The shocking news of the King of Pop’s sudden death yesterday sparked so much Web traffic that Google’s news-link Web site had to put a temporary block on “Michael Jackson” search requests.

Google’s computers incorrectly interpreted the flood of requests as a “denial of service” attack meant to crash the news site.

The flood of chatter and tributes did bring down sites across the World Wide Web.

June 26, 2009: An excerpt from a story in Newsday:

Michael Jackson fans flock to the Apollo


The crowd gathered outside the famed Apollo Theater on 125th Street in Harlem came to remember the “King of Pop” Friday, leaving flowers, gifts and even handwritten notes addressed to Michael Jackson.

One day after the sudden, shocking death of Jackson, 50, fans said it was still hard to believe the king was gone.

“We’ll always keep our memories and my love will go to you,” wrote Kiyoshi Tyler, 12, of Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Kiyoshi had come to the impromptu memorial with her sister, Availah, and their grandmother, Cynthia Thomas, of Far Rockaway.

Thomas said she was born just one week after Jackson, who was born Aug. 29, 1958, and rose to fame as a child as the lead singer of the Jackson 5. Jackson went on to become a Grammy-winning superstar who had 16 No. 1 hits and the biggest-selling album in history with “Thriller.”

June 26, 2009: An excerpt from a story in Red Eye:

Autopsy planned as authorities seek to clear up mystery surrounding Michael Jackson’s death

By LYNN ELBER (Associated Press)

Michael Jackson, defined in equal parts as the world’s greatest entertainer and perhaps its most enigmatic figure, was about to attempt one of the greatest comebacks of all time. Then his life was cut shockingly — and so far, mysteriously — short.

The 50-year-old musical superstar died Thursday, just as he was preparing for what would be a series of 50 concerts starting July 13 at London’s famed 02 arena. Jackson had been spending hours and hours toiling with a team of dancers for a performance he and his fans hoped would restore his tarnished legacy to its proper place in pop.

An autopsy was planned for Friday, though results were not likely to be final until toxicology tests could be completed, a process that could take several days and sometimes weeks. However, if a cause can be determined by the autopsy, they will announce the results, said Los Angeles County Coroner Investigator Jerry McKibben.

June 26, 2009: An excerpt from a story in the Chicago Sun-Times:

’79 album ‘Off the Wall’ best of phenomenal career


As the music world begins to assess the complicated legacy of the man who crowned himself the King of Pop, there is no denying that Michael Jackson’s climb from humble beginnings amid the belching smokestacks of Gary to the top of the charts and worldwide superstardom will rank beside those of Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and the Beatles as one of the most extraordinary rags-to-riches stories ever.

Nor is it an exaggeration to say that Jackson, who died Thursday a little more than two months shy of his 51st birthday, made a more profound impact in the arenas of soul, R&B and dance-pop than any other singer or songwriter in history.

June 26, 2009: An excerpt from a story in The Virginian-Pilot:

Many facets of Michael Jackson

By JON PARELES (The New York Times)

Which Michael Jackson will be remembered? The unsurpassed entertainer, the gifted and driven song-and-dance man who wielded rhythm, melody, texture and image to create and promote the best-selling album of all time, “Thriller”? Or the bizarre figure he became after he failed in his stated ambition to outsell “Thriller,” and after the gleaming fantasy gave way to tabloid revelations, bitter rejoinders and the long public silence he was scheduled to break next month,

In the end, the superstar and the recluse were not so far apart.

June 26, 2009: An excerpt from a story in the Merrillville, Indiana newspaper, the Post-Tribune:

Jackson fans flock to childhood home in Gary


GARY — The house that built a music dynasty at 2300 Jackson Street became a memorial site Thursday as throngs of fans and neighbors remembered Gary native and music icon Michael Jackson.

Fans posed in front of the security door of Jackson’s childhood home, which was quickly being covered with teddy bears and signs that read ‘R.I.P. Michael’ and “We Will Miss You, Michael.”

Patricia Collier of Gary placed a neon pink teddy bear in between the security door bars. She said when she lived in Detroit in the 1980s, she and a best friend would go to his concerts.

“My beautician called me and I could not, would not believe it. Then the calls kept coming and I was like, ‘Oh my God,'” she said.

Gary Mayor Rudy Clay stood under the Jackson Street sign, where just last year Jackson’s father Joseph Jackson visited Gary and they unveiled another sign — Jackson Family Blvd.

“Our hearts are heavy. We have truly lost the world’s greatest entertainer. Gary has truly lost a legend,” Clay said.

June 26, 2009: An excerpt from a story in the Detroit Free Press:

Sheer force of talent made Jackson an icon


The scenes are etched in our collective memory, images that will forever identify our times: A precocious whirling dervish alongside his big brothers. A sparkle of sequins gliding backward — moonwalking — across a concert stage. A white-gloved blur of motion on MTV.

Michael Jackson long ago made history. He’s now officially part of our cultural past. Jackson, the most super of pop music’s superstars, died Thursday of a heart attack in Los Angeles. He was 50.

In recent years, Jackson’s name was more commonly found on the gossip pages than on the pop charts, the child star who’d never quite grown up.

But it was the sheer force of his talent, which produced more than five dozen Top 40 hits, that had established his name. Jackson’s influence was massive and wide-ranging, setting standards in music, dance, video and fashion — even redefining the very nature of celebrity. The rare musician to garner critical acclaim matching his commercial clout, he was rivaled by perhaps only Elvis Presley as America’s most prominent solo artist.

Detroit had him early: With his older brothers in the Jackson 5, the Gary, Ind., native was signed by Berry Gordy Jr. to Motown Records in 1969. Jackson and his siblings tasted success from the get-go, rolling onto Billboard’s pop charts with four consecutive No. 1 hits.

June 26, 2009: An excerpt from a story in The Detroit News:

From Motown to L.A., Michael Jackson left a lasting mark


Michael Jackson, whose career started in Detroit when at 9 years old he dazzled Berry Gordy Jr. with a virtuoso performance at Motown’s offices, was found unconscious by paramedics at his home in the Bel-Air section of Los Angeles on Thursday. Jackson was pronounced dead at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 50.

Jackson left three children — sons Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., 12, Prince Michael, 7, and daughter Paris Michael Katherine, 11.

Ed Winter, the assistant chief coroner for Los Angeles County, confirmed his office would handle the investigation.

The pop star’s death came just as he was launching a comeback, with 50 sold-out shows at London’s O2 Center set to start July 13. He had reportedly been involved in intense rehearsals to get into shape to do some of his trademark dance moves.

Before he was the King of Pop, before the trial and Wacko Jacko stories, before the plastic surgery that made him almost unrecognizable, Jackson was the talented front man who, with his four brothers, helped revive Detroit’s iconic Motown label at a time when its first wave of stars were starting to founder.

June 26, 2009: An excerpt from a story in the Star Tribune:

Twin Cities musicians: ‘He was a world icon’
Magnificent musician had a friendly rivalry with Prince.


Minneapolis drummer Michael Bland got off the airplane in St. Louis on Thursday evening to find this text message: “Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett dead.”

“I’m having trouble processing this,” said Bland, 40, who had declined an invitation to be in Jackson’s touring band in 1996. “I figured he’d be here till he was 80. His death is more significant than John Lennon’s. He was a world icon.”

Speaking by phone moments after he heard the news, Bland said he was dumbfounded. He had recently been in contact with musicians who were set to back Jackson on a 50-concert run in London starting in mid-July.

“All I heard was that he was in shape, and the tour was going to make a lot of money,” Bland said.

To a contemporary, the sudden death was a wakeup call.


June 26, 2009: An excerpt from a story in the The Denver Post:

Denver-area fans mourn a generation’s Elvis


Endia Taylor, 24, was on a city bus when another passenger said Michael Jackson had died.

“I was crying overwhelmingly when I heard,” she said, her eyes still damp. “I couldn’t believe it. I thought she was lying.”

For many people in their 30s and 40s, it was the day the music died.

Jackson was the backbeat of their lives, be it “Billie Jean” or “I Want You Back,” the music that filled the dance floor at their weddings, the dance moves they dreamed of imitating, the moments they’ll never forget.

“Wacko Jacko” was the fodder of forgotten tabloids, not words quickly on the lips of most people interviewed in the metro area minutes after the the King of Pop was gone.

June 26, 2009
Palo Alto Daily News


June 26, 2009
Extra (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)


June 26, 2009
O Dia (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)


June 26, 2009
Daily Observer (Kingston, Jamaica)


June 26, 2009
The Calgary Sun (Canada)

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