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Jermaine Jackson

Jermaine Jackson

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Michael Jackson is dead after suffering a cardiac arrest, sending shockwaves sweeping across the world and tributes pouring in Friday for the tortured music icon revered as the "King of Pop."Jackson, 50, collapsed at his rented mansion in the exclusive Los Angeles neighbourhood of Holmby Hills and was rushed to hospital by paramedics before being pronounced dead at 2:26 pm (2126 GMT) on Thursday.One of the most influential figures in pop history whose career included the highest-selling album of all-time, "Thriller," Jackson had been preparing for a concert comeback in London next month he had dubbed "the final curtain."News of his death triggered an outpouring of grief as shocked celebrities, foreign governments and devoted fans from Beijing to Beverly Hills paid tribute to the troubled star.Lieutenant Fred Corral, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Coroner's office, said an autopsy would likely be carried out on Friday and would not speculate on the exact cause of death.Jackson's brother Jermaine, the family's official spokesman, later revealed physicians had battled for more than an hour to revive the star after his arrival at the UCLA Medical Centre before he was pronounced dead."Our family requests that the media please respect our privacy during this tough time," Jermaine Jackson said.

"May Allah be with you, Michael, always."As the sun began to sink over Los Angeles, a coroner's office helicopter bearing Jackson's body took off from the UCLA Medical Centre, where hundreds of media and fans had gathered throughout the day.Meanwhile police motorcycle riders surrounded Jackson's gated mansion as crowds of tourists and fans congregated.Pop diva Madonna was among dozens of celebrities who struggled to cope.

"I can't stop crying over the sad news," the singer said in a statement.

"The world has lost one of the greats, but his music will live on forever!"The star's first wife Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis Presley, said his death had left her speechless.

"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," Presley told MTV News in a statement.Political figures also paid their tributes.California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger lamented the loss of "one of the most influential and iconic figures in the music industry."British Foreign Secretary David Miliband also posted his thoughts on micro-blogging site Twitter.

"Never has one soared so high and yet dived so low.

RIP Michael," Miliband wrote.

But the most visible emotion came in spontaneous gatherings of fans here and across the world.In Los Angeles Lana Brown, a 49-year-old tourist from Dallas, broke down in tears as she digested the news.

"I can't believe we might have lost the best entertainer this world has ever seen," she told AFP.In New York's Times Square, Chantal de Roy van Zuydewijn watched a giant screen broadcasting the news of Jackson's death with tears running down her cheeks."He is a legend.

He is a genius," said the 28-year-old Dutch tourist, who had a ticket to the pop legend's scheduled comeback tour in July.Jackson's 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.Jackson family attorney Brian Oxman said he had harboured concerns over the singer's condition, revealing that he had been taking prescription medication as he prepared for his comeback.Oxman compared Jackson's fate to the overdose death of Playboy centerfold Anna-Nicole Smith, voicing concern over "enablers" in his entourage.

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