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Joel Ryan/Associated Press More Photographs This post is written by Jon Pareles, Ben Sisario and Brian Stelter in New York and Brooks Barnes in Los Angeles.

Michael Jackson, the singer, songwriter and dancer who earned the title "King of Pop" in a career that reached unprecedented peaks of sales and attention, died Thursday, a Los Angeles city official said.

He was 50.

Updates: Reaction From Around the World Readers across the globe described what he meant to them and how they viewed the legacy of his music and career.

Share your comments and photos here.Video Marathon | 11:03 p.m.

In the mood for a few Michael Jackson music videos? BET is now broadcasting a video marathon.The cable channel will also pay tribute to Mr.

Jackson during a live edition of "106 & Park" Friday at 6 p.m., and during the "BET Awards" on Sunday.Jackson and Elvis | 10:47 p.m.

Many people will be spending some time with Michael Jackson's discography in the days ahead — and some for the first time.

Celine Dion, the recording artist, said on CNN: "My son is 8 years old, and… he's listening to this song, brand new, from him.

Like, I'm rediscovering Michael Jackson again."Speaking to CNN's Larry King, Ms.

Dion said, "It feels like when Kennedy died, when Elvis Presley died." His Home Sweet Home | 10:29 p.m.

Our colleague Susan Saulny reports from the Jackson's hometown of Gary Ind.:In Gary, Indiana, hundreds of people descended upon the squat clapboard house were Mr.

Jackson spent his earliest years.

There were tears, loud wails, and quiet prayers as old neighbors joined hands with people who had driven in from Chicago and other nearby towns to pay their respects."Just continue to glorify the man, Lord," said Ida Boyd-King, a local pastor who led the crowd in prayer.

"Let's give God praise for Michael."Thomas Hicks added, "He ain't got to worry about it anymore.

Rest in Peace, Michael Jackson.

Rest in peace." Mr.

Hicks, 43, said he remembered Mr.

Jackson as a child.

"Mike was just Mike.

That's why all the people are here right now."Shelletta Hinton, 40, drove to Gary from Chicago with her two young children.

She said they met Mr.

Jackson in Gary a couple of years ago when he was in town to receive a key to the city.

"We felt like we were close to Michael," she said.

"This is a sad day."As dusk set in, mourners lit candles and placed them on the concrete doorstep.

Some left teddy bears and personal notes."He will live on," said Denise Prince, 47, a Gary resident.

"There's no doubt about that.From Los Angeles | 10:29 p.m.

Our colleague Randal C.

Archibold sends this dispatch from Los Angeles: The death of Michael Jackson drew hundreds of fans â€Â" some chanting his name, some doing the “Thriller” dance, some quietly reflecting â€Â" as well as the curious to the hospital where he was treated and the hillside house where he was living.

His trials and tribulations for the most part were overlooked; most people came seeking a connection with an icon or simply celebrated, sung and played his music while others barely familiar with his work recorded the occasionally tumultuous scene with cell phone cameras.

Jeremy Vargas, 38, hoisted his wife, Erica Renaud, 38, on his shoulders and they danced and bopped to “Man in the Mirror” playing from an onlookers’ iPod connected to external speakers â€Â" the boom boxes of Mr.

Jackson’s hey day long past their day.

“I am in shock and awe,’’ said Ms.

Renaud, who, visiting from Red Hook, Brooklyn with her family, rushed to the hospital, University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center, when she heard the news.

"He was like a family member to me,’’ she said, going on to describe her long enchantment with Mr.

Jackson’s music and adding a few steps from “Thriller” to make the point.

Berry Gordy Jr.

| 10:15 p.m.

Our colleague Jennifer Mascia reports: Berry Gordy, founder of Motown Records who helped turn the Jackson 5 into pop stars, said on CNN.com that he felt sorry "for all of the fans around the world that are so much in love with Michael."Mr.

Gordy said that Mr.

Jackson, as a boy, "always wanted to be the best, and he was willing to work as hard as it took to be that.

And we could all see that he was a winner at that age.

And I've always believed winners are winners long before they win.

And picking them out before they win is very easy with a Michael Jackson."Tommy Mottola | 10:08 p.m.

Tommy Mottola, a former head of Sony Music, called Mr.

Jackson "the cornerstone to the entire music business.""He bridged the gap between rhythm and blues and pop music and made it into a global culture," said Mr.

Mottola in a telephone interview.

Mr.

Mottola worked with Mr.

Jackson until the singer cut his ties with Sony in 2001.

"No one has ever done what he did in his time — and no one will ever do what he did after his time."Investigation | 9:59 p.m.

The Associated Press reports: "Los Angeles police Lt.

Gregg Strenk said at a separate news conference that police robbery-homicide detectives have been ordered to investigate, which is common in a high-profile case." 'He Believed In Me When I Was Nobody' | 9:49 p.m.

Our colleague Melena Ryzik talked to the choreographer and director Vincent Paterson, who had a relationship with Mr.

Jackson for more than 20 years.

She sends this dispatch: Mr.

Paterson appeared as a gang leader in the video for “Beat It” as well as a dancer in “Thriller,” for which he was also an assistant choreographer.

He went on to choreograph and direct Mr.

Jackson’s first tour, the Bad Tour, as well as the videos for “Smooth Criminal” and “Blood on the Dance Floor” and Mr.

Jackson’s numerous appearances on the Grammys, the MTV awards and the Super Bowl.

About eight months ago, Mr.

Jackson’s representatives approached him to participate in his London shows, but Mr.

Paterson was not available, nor was he briefed about any potential health problem Mr.

Jackson had.“He was just so excited about having an opportunity to come back,” Mr.

Paterson said from Montreal, where he is directing a new Cirque du Soleil show about Elvis.

“It’s devastating.

I talk about him constantly to people.

There’s always something that I share about his work ethic or the way he respected people.”He continued: “I don’t know if somebody that’s so much in the public eye, if there are any surprises left.

What I know about him is the quality of kindness, he was the most polite gentleman that I’ve ever met in this entire business.

The Michael that I know never had an unkind word to say about anybody, no matter how vicious” their comments were.

“He would be concerned and cry with me about the kinds of things that people said because he couldn’t understand it.

But he never said, ‘what a creep.’ It just didn’t seem part of his makeup.”Last year, after Mr.

Paterson made an appearance at the Tribeca Film Festival to promote the 25th anniversary of the “Thriller” video, Mr.

Jackson called him to say thank you.“I don’t know what kind of career I would have if it weren’t for Michael,” Mr.

Paterson said, breaking down in tears.

“He believed in me when I was nobody.

He just gave me the opportunity to be creative and he believed in me.

That just doesn’t happen very often.” Transporting Jackson | 9:47 p.m.

Around 6:45 p.m.

Pacific, television news channels showed a city helicopter moving Mr.

Jackson's body to the coroner's office.

Workers placed the body, which was wrapped in a white sheet, onto a stretcher and then into a waiting van.

"Such a larger than life figure is, in the end, just a human body," a commentator said on Fox News.Tippi Hedren | 9:38 p.m.

Tippi Hedren, the former "Birds" star whose 80-acre wildlife preserve, Shambala, has lately been home to Jackson's tigers, has released a letter saying she will continue to care for the animals, named Thriller and Sabu."We have so suddenly lost one of the most beautiful and enchanting entertainers on our planet," Ms.

Hedren says in the letter, which was reported on Extra TV.Jermaine Jackson Speaks | 9:08 p.m.

Jermaine Jackson spoke to the media on behalf of the family Thursday evening.

Speaking about his brother Michael, he said, "It is believed he suffered cardiac arrest in his home.

However, the cause of death is unknown until the results of the autopsy are done." (Full Text of Statement)Media reports indicate that Mr.

Jackson's body will be transported to the Los Angeles County coroner's office for an autopsy later today.

The official time of death was 2:26 p.m.

Pacific time.

Madonna | 8:57 p.m.

Commenting to People.com, a fellow pop icon, Madonna, said, "I can't stop crying over the sad news." She added, "I have always admired Michael Jackson.

The world has lost one of the greats, but his music will live on forever! My heart goes out to his three children and other members of his family.

God bless." Tributes | 8:53 p.m.

Our colleague Jenna Wortham reports: Impromptu get-togethers are being organized tonight around the United States to bring together fans who want to celebrate Mr.

Jackson’s memory.

Informal events are scheduled for several public parks around San Francisco, including Dolores Park and Golden Gate Park.

In addition, one San Francisco event being coordinated through Facebook is calling for fans of the pop icon to reenact a rendition of “Thriller,” Mr.

Jackson’s horror-themed music video featuring dancing zombies.

The “Thriller” event is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m.

Pacific Time in Justin Herman Plaza in downtown San Francisco.In New York, vigils are being organized via Twitter to gather fans in Manhattan to remember the pop culture phenomenon.In Portland, Ore., bicyclists are invited to take part in a memorial ride.

Organizers are hoping to erect a karaoke machine so attendees can sing Michael Jackson tunes and dance to the singer’s hits.

Participants are encouraged to wear glittery gloves and costumes reminiscent of the pop artist’s signature costumes.

(Updates on Twitter)Contribute to our ongoing coverage.

E-mail links and observations to [email protected] Reaction | 8:45 p.m.

There are two stars for Michael Jackson on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

One honors the superstar singer who died today; the other honors a talk show host by the same name.

On Thursday the singer's star was covered up by a film premiere in Hollywood.

So fans are now leaving flowers by the star for the other Jackson, according to MSNBC.The Los Angeles Times says the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce will place a memorial to Mr.

Jackson on the street at 9 a.m.

Friday.

Waiting for News Conference to Begin | 8:22 p.m.

Scores of journalists are outside the UCLA Medical Center awaiting a news conference by hospital officials.

We expect it to begin shortly.Superstar | 8:12 p.m.

It's easy to forget, now, that as a young man, "Michael Jackson did things that seemed like they hadn't been done before," the CNN anchor Anderson Cooper said during the 8 p.m.

Eastern hour.

Mr.

Cooper's guests fondly recalled the glitter glove and the Moonwalk.

"It was otherworldly," agreed John Norris, a former MTV News correspondent.

"It's hard to even talk in 2009 about what the era of the superstar was like."Twitter | 8:08 p.m.

Our sister blog Bits notes that Michael Jackson topped the charts on Twitter Thursday evening as tens of thousands of people reached to the singer's death.

"He was my childhood," one user wrote, summing up many of the mournful comments.

Jackson Facts According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Mr.

Jackson is the 17th-best selling act of all time, with total sales of 61.5 million in the U.S.

Note that this is U.S.

sales only.

But his most recent album, "Invincible," released in 2001, has sold only 2.1 million copies to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Reaction in New York | 7:51 p.m.

Mr.

Jackson first performed at the Apollo Theater in Harlem in 1969 at the age of 9.

The Jackson 5 won Amateur Night.

"We will always remember Michael in our hearts as a true Apollo legend, known for his professionalism and grace," said Jonelle Procope, the president of the Apollo Theater Foundation.

"Our sympathy goes out to his entire family.

He will be deeply missed."From our colleague Tim Arango: It wasn’t exactly a moment like “The Kiss in Times Square,” memorialized by the photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt in 1945 after the Japanese surrendered to end World War II, but as they have for decades during major news events, people gathered in Times Square Thursday evening after news broke of Michael Jackson’s death.At around 7 p.m.

tourists were clogging blocked-off sections of Broadway in Times Square, gazing at an ABC News ticker above the ESPN Zone restaurant, snapping pictures of the crawling text telling the world that Jackson had died.

Others were facing south, peering up at a Fox News screen.

A CNN news crew asked bystanders for reactions.Your Turn | 7:38 p.m.

The New York Times is collecting readers' words and images to document Mr.

Jackson's legacy.

Respond with words, a photo or both here.

Two Weeks Ago | 7:37 p.m.

The celebrity news site TMZ said it had last seen Mr.

Jackson on June 9 as his convoy drove away.

On that day, a videographer shouted, "Can you still moonwalk?" The window of Mr.

Jackson's vehicle rolled down and the frail-looking singer could be heard saying, through a veil that covered his mouth, "why wouldn't I be able to?" He flashed a peace sign and the window rose back up.More Reaction | 7:06 p.m.

"I am absolutely devastated at this tragic and unexpected news," the music producer Quincy Jones said in a statement read by MSNBC.

Mr.

Jones said Mr.

Jackson "had it all — talent, grace, professionalism and dedication." Mr.

Jones added, "I've lost my little brother today, and part of my soul has gone with him."Carlos Diaz, a correspondent for the entertainment news show "Extra," suggested on MSNBC that this is "the day that pop music died."John Landis, who directed Mr.

Jackson's most memorable music video, "Thriller," said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times that Mr.

Jackson "was an extraordinary talent and a truly great international star.""He had a troubled and complicated life and despite his gifts, remains a tragic figure," Mr.

Landis said.Update | 7 p.m.

A Los Angeles city official confirmed that Michael Jackson is dead.

The official said he died at 1:07 p.m.

Pacific time.NBC, which had scheduled a one-hour tribute to Farrah Fawcett tonight at 10 p.m., has now expanded that special to two hours, beginning at 9 p.m., to cover the deaths of both Ms.

Fawcett and Mr.

Jackson.

CBS will broadcast a special report covering both deaths at 10 p.m.

ABC will air a special report at 9 p.m.

as well.BBC's Special Report | 6:56 p.m.

For an international perspective on Mr.

Jackson's life and death, the BBC is broadcasting a special report.

It can be streamed online here.Music Memorials | 6:38 p.m.

Expect a number of Jackson music marathons in the days to come.

According to our colleague Stuart Elliott: WCBS-FM, the oldies station in New York, is broadcasting some of Mr.

Jackson's greatest hits.

The station said it would have special programming later in the day.Mr.

Jackson was one of the icons of MTV's early days in the 1980's.

Our colleague Steve Reddicliffe says that the music channel is now playing the music videos for "Beat It" and "Thriller," accompanied by a "breaking news" graphic on the screen about the singer's death.Reaction | 6:37 p.m.

Television news images showed large crowds gathering outside the UCLA Medical Center.

"People are already showing up in costume, believe it or not," said a Fox News correspondent, Trace Gallagher, comparing it to the circus he witnessed during a trial involving Mr.

Jackson.Carlos Diaz, a correspondent for the entertainment news show "Extra," suggested on MSNBC that this is "the day that pop music died."John Landis, who directed Mr.

Jackson's most memorable music video, "Thriller," said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times that Mr.

Jackson "was an extraordinary talent and a truly great international star.""He had a troubled and complicated life and despite his gifts, remains a tragic figure," Mr.

Landis said.More Reports | 6:29 p.m.

"A lot will be said about Michael Jackson as we learn more about this story," Brian Williams said on the "NBC Nightly News." "He was incredibly talented, a child star who was an adult with deep troubles and physical and mental health issues."The reports of Mr.

Jackson's death ricocheted around the world with remarkable speed.

The news led Friday morning newscasts in Japan.CBS and ABC are also reporting the news, standing on their own reporting now.L.A.

Times Reports Jackson Is Dead | 6:24 p.m.

The newspaper cited "city and law enforcement sources." The networks and CNN are also broadcasting the news, citing the Times story.

Reports: Jackson in a Coma | 6:15 p.m.

Several news organizations including the Los Angeles Times reported that Mr.

Jackson "is in a coma." The newspaper attributed the news to one law enforcement source.

CNN is also citing "multiple sources" as saying that Mr.

Jackson is in a coma.Updated | 6:11 p.m.

LOS ANGELES â€Â" An unconscious Michael Jackson was rushed to UCLA Medical Center on Thursday afternoon by paramedics who performed C.P.R., according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.Early reports indicated cardiac arrest, but a hospital spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.

Mr.

Jackson, 50, has been renting a mansion in the Bel Air neighborhood, a short distance from the hospital, and rehearsing for a series of 50 sold-out shows in London.Joe Jackson told to E! News, an entertainment Web site and cable channel, that the singer’s family was scrambling to determine his condition.

“I am in Las Vegas, but yes, people in Los Angeles called me and are with Michael and tell me he was taken to the hospital,” Mr.

Jackson told E! News.

“His mother is on her way to the hospital now to check in on him.” Mr.

Jackson is scheduled to perform in a series of concerts in at the O2 arena London, beginning next month and continuing into 2010.

The shows have been widely seen in the music industry as an important possible comeback for him, with the potential to earn him up to $50 million, according to some reports.

But there has also been worry and speculation that Mr.

Jackson, who is 50, was not physically ready for such an arduous run of concerts, and Mr.

Jackson’s postponement of the first of those shows from July 8 to July 13 fueled new rounds of gossip about his health.Even though Mr.

Jackson has sold millions of albums around the world — “Thriller,” from 1982, has been certified 28 times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America — his eccentric lifestyle took a severe financial toll.

In 1988 Mr.

Jackson paid about $17 million for a 2,600-acre ranch in Los Olivos, Calif., 125 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

Calling it Neverland, he outfitted the property with amusement-park rides, a zoo and a 50-seat theater, at a cost of $35 million, according to reports, and the ranch became his sanctum.

But Neverland, and Mr.

Jackson’s lifestyle, were expensive to maintain.

A forensic accountant who testified at Mr.

Jackson’s molestation trial in 2005 said that Mr.

Jackson’s annual budget in 1999 included $7.5 million for personal expenses and $5 million to maintain Neverland.

By at least the late 1990s, he began to take out huge loans to support himself and pay debts.

In 1998 he took out a loan for $140 million from Bank of America, which two years later was upped to $200 million.

Further loans of hundreds of millions followed.

The collateral for the loans was Mr.

Jackson’s 50 percent share in Sony/ATV Music Publishing, a portfolio of thousands of songs, including more than 259 by the Beatles that are considered some of the most valuable properties in music.

In 1985 Mr.

Jackson paid $47.5 million for ATV, which included the Beatles songs — a move that estranged him from Paul McCartney — and 10 years later Mr.

Jackson sold 50 percent of his interest to Sony for $90 million, creating a joint venture, Sony/ATV.

Estimates of the value of the catalog exceed $1 billion.

“The primary reason for the concerts wasn’t so much that he was wanting to generate money as much as it was that he wanted to to perform for his kids,” said J.

Randy Taraborrelli, whose biography, "Michael Jackson: The Magic and the Madness," was first published in 1991.

“They had never seen him perform before.”A member of the pop group the Jackson 5 as a child, Mr.

Jackson was a pint-size musical dynamo.

Under the aegis of Joe Jackson, he spent years in talent shows and performing in seedy Midwestern clubs his dictatorial and ambitious father.

Joe Jackson and Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown Records, were the singer’s twin mentors during his early career.A clip from 1972:Mr.

Jackson eventually broke with his father and the Jackson 5, a move toward creative and financial independence marked by his collaborations with Quincy Jones on a trio of albums.

The most memorable of those is 1982's "Thriller," which eventually racked up sales of 51 million copies globally, according to the Guinness World Records, making it the best-selling album in history.More Jackson clips on YouTube.A spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department told CNN that rescuers were called to Mr.

Jackson's home at 12:21 p.m.

Pacific.

"When paramedics went on the scene, they treated the patient, then they immediately transported the patient to UCLA," the spokesman told CNN.

Mr.

Jackson's home is located only a few minutes from the hospital center.Cable news channels almost immediately started showing paparazzi shots from TMZ, X17Online.com and Hollywood.TV of Mr.

Jackson's entourage arriving at the hospital.

By mid-afternoon, television news helicopters were hovering above the medical center.Entertainment news Web sites including EOnline.com and PerezHilton.com appeared to be loading more slowly than usual, or not loading at all, an indication of the intense interest in Mr.

Jackson's hospitalization.



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