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Click photo to enlarge FILE - In this March 5, 2009 file photo, Michael Jackson announces that he is set to play ten live concerts at the London O2 Arena in July, which he announced at a press conference at the London O2 Arena.

(AP Photo/Joel Ryan, file) «1»RelatedSlide show: Michael Jackson over the yearsPoll: What is your all-time favorite Michael Jackson songGuestbook: Post or read condolences for the pop iconRELATED LINKSReal-time Michael Jackson chatter on TwitterJackson's official YouTube channelJackson's Wikipedia pageJackson's Facebook pageJackson's MySpace pageJackson's official Web siteBiography from the Rock and Roll Hall of FameDiscography (Rolling Stone)Michael Jackson, who as a member of the Jackson 5 and then as a solo artist became one of the biggest stars in pop music history, was pronounced dead Monday after paramedics found him in a coma at his BelAir home, the Los Angeles Times reports.

He was 50.The Times quoted Los Angeles Fire Department Capt.

Steve Ruda as saying paramedics responded to a 911 call from the home.

When they arrived, Jackson was not breathing, and a doctor was performing CPR on the entertainer, a source told the Times.

Paramedics continued performing CPR and took Jackson to UCLA Medical Center.

Hundreds of reporters gathered at the hospital awaiting word on his condition.

The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said family Michael Jackson - New Music - More Music Videosmembers rushed to Jackson's bedside, where he was in a deep coma.

No cause of death has been announced yet.

The Times quoted law enforcement sources as saying the Los Angeles Police Department robbery-homicide detectives have opened an investigation into the death, though they stressed that there is no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

The detectives plan to interview relatives, friends and Jackson's doctors to try to figure out what happened.

A Los Angeles Fire Department source told the L.A.

Times that Jackson was in full cardiac arrest when rescue units arrived.It was not immediately known which members of Jackson's family were at UCLA Medical Center when the onetime King of Pop was declared dead.Celebrity Web Advertisementsite TMZ.com, which was the first to report of Jackson's death, said LaToya Jackson was seen running from the hospital, sobbing.

It was reported Jackson's mother and at least some of his brothers were present.

Father Joe Jackson, who was the driving force behind the Jackson 5 and Michael Jackson's early singing career, was reportedly in Las Vegas.The news comes as Jackson, 50, was attempting a comeback after years of tabloid headlines, most notably his trial and acquittal on child molestation charges.

The singer had scheduled a series of 50 sold-out shows in London's O2 Arena starting in July and running through next March.The L.A.

Times said Jackson had won the backing of two billionaires to get the so-called "King of Pop" back on stage.His backers were hoping the shows at the O2 would launch a career rebirth that could ultimately encompass a three-year world tour, a new album, movies, a Graceland-like museum, musical revues in Las Vegas and Macau, and even a "Thriller" casino.

But it had been a more a decade since Jackson had performed, recorded or written music on a consistent basis.His death brought a tragic end to a long, bizarre, sometimes farcical decline from his peak in the 1980s, when he was popular music's premier all-around performer, a uniter of black and white music who shattered the race barrier on MTV, dominated the charts and dazzled even more on stage.

His 1982 album "Thriller" — which included the blockbuster hits "Beat It," "Billie Jean" and "Thriller" — remains the biggest-selling album of all time, with more than 26 million copies.

He was perhaps the most exciting performer of his generation, known for his feverish, crotch-grabbing dance moves and his high-pitched voice punctuated with squeals and titters.

His single sequined glove, tight, military-style jacket and aviator sunglasses were trademarks second only to his ever-changing, surgically altered appearance.

As years went by, he became an increasingly freakish figure — a middle-aged man-child weirdly out of touch with grownup life.

His skin became lighter and his nose narrower.

He surrounded himself with children at his Neverland Ranch, often wore a germ mask while traveling and kept a pet chimpanzee named Bubbles as one of his closest companions.

In 2005, he was cleared of charges he molested a 13-year-old cancer survivor at Neverland in 2003.

He had been accused of plying the boy with alcohol and groping him.

The case took a fearsome toll on his career and image, and he fell into serious financial trouble.

Jackson was preparing for what was to be his greatest comeback: He was scheduled for an unprecedented 50 shows at a London arena, with the first set for July 13.

He was in rehearsals in Los Angeles for the concert, an extravaganza that was to capture the classic Jackson magic: showstopping dance moves, elaborate staging and throbbing dance beats.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the hospital as word of his death spread.

The emergency entrance at the UCLA Medical Center, which is near Jackson's rented home, was roped off with police tape.

"Ladies and gentlemen, Michael Jackson has just died," a woman boarding a Manhattan bus called out, shortly after the news was announced.

Immediately many riders reached for their cell phones.

In New York's Times Square, a low groan went up in the crowd when a screen flashed that Jackson had died, and people began relaying the news to friends by cell phone.

"No joke.

King of Pop is no more.

Wow," Michael Harris, 36, of New York City, read from a text message a friend sent to his telephone.

"It's like when Kennedy was assassinated.

I will always remember being in Times Square when Michael Jackson died." The Associated Press contributed to this report.



http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_12689546?source=most_viewed
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