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Michael Jackson Has Died At Age 50

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Updated at 4:04 PM Pacific Standard Time, June 25, 2009:

Pop music icon Michael Jackson has died at age 50 after being rushed to a Los Angeles hospital, suffering an apparent heart attack earlier today at his L. A. home.

The Los Angeles Times reports, along with most other major sources now, that Jackson was pronounced dead earlier this afternoon after arriving at the hospital in a coma.

TMZ, who was the first major news source to report that Jackson had died, said in their report that Jackson’s sister Latoya emerged sobbing from the hospital after receiving the news. Paramedics were unable to revive the singer after arriving at the hospital, according to the same report. Earlier reports gave conflicting stories that the singer was in a coma, without confirming he had in fact died.

According to earlier reports today in the Los Angeles Times, TMZ, and other sources, Jackson was not breathing when the ambulance first arrived at his home. He was also administered CPR while en route to the hospital.

The singer was said to be “in bad shape” according to an unnamed family source quoted in the earlier TMZ story. Michael’s father Joe Jackson was also quoted as saying he is “not doing well” in the same story. Emergency personnel received the 911 call at 12:21PM from the singer’s Holmby Hills home in L.A.

Michael Jackson had been planning on launching a comeback later this year with a series of concerts in London, England. Various reports had also surfaced that the concerts might have been experiencing some behind the scenes problems.

Michael Jackson first rose to fame as part of Motown’s child stars The Jackson 5 in the sixties, before becoming a megastar on his own as the self-proclaimed “King Of Pop” in the eighties with albums like Off The Wall and Thriller. In more recent years, he had become equally well-known for reports of his bizarre behavior, changing appearance, and allegations of child abuse.

Despite this, Michael Jackson will no doubt go down as one of the most successful performers of all time, with a legacy which puts him in the same elite company as such music legends as the Beatles, Elvis Presley, and Frank Sinatra. Michael is survived by three children: Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr., Paris Michael Katherine Jackson and Prince “Blanket” Michael Jackson II.

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About Glen Boyd

Glen Boyd is the author of Neil Young FAQ, released in May 2012 by Backbeat Books/Hal Leonard Publishing. He is a former BC Music Editor and current contributor, whose work has also appeared in SPIN, Ultimate Classic Rock, The Rocket, The Source and other publications. You can read more of Glen's work at the official Neil Young FAQ site. Follow Glen on Twitter and on Facebook.
  • Michael Jackson, both as a solo artist and a member of The Jackson 5, was a musical icon. His depth of work spanned decades and affected millions of people around the world.

    You are absolutely right Glen. He “will no doubt go down as one of the most successful performers of all time, with a legacy which puts him in the same elite company as such music legends as the Beatles, Elvis Presley, and Frank Sinatra.”

    Lofty company and he earned the right to be there.

  • Thanks for writing this article on such a short notice, Glen. Whatever his personal life, we’ll remember him.

  • Thanks Roger and Tink.

    It was a bit tough to do both because the story was changing so rapidly there for a couple of hours, and because quite frankly, it made me feel a little ghoulish doing so (particularly when we didn’t really know for sure what was going on).

    That said, I had a bad feeling about this almost from the moment I first heard about that he’d been rushed to a hospital.

    Thanx for the comments.


  • Michael and poor Farrah, both in one day.
    One needs courage.

  • What killed MJ? Living in a society that does things like this:

    Entertainment Tonight posts a photo of Michael Jackson being worked on in the ambulance. Brands it “Exclusive Last Photo”.

  • I had a feeling that he didn’t have long to live because he was so vulnerable to illness.
    I saw on the news report that the strain of the upcoming tour for the UK was taking it’s toll on him and the strain of it was too much.So his heart gave out,poor guy.At least he won’t suffer anymore.

  • He was always in poor health, Joanne.

  • It is a little sad that the passing today of Farrah Fawcett, who was an iconic star in her own right, has become somewhat lost with the MJ story.

    But the thing with Farrah was that it was somewhat expected — I just watched a tearful interview with Ryan O’Neal about it this week on TV.

    In a lot of ways, this reminds me a lot of when Kurt Cobain passed. Like this, the news went from where they found “a body” to where the awful truth was confirmed pretty quickly over just a few hours. But from the moment you heard the first report, you just felt that sinking feeling where you already kinda knew.

    Hopefully both Farrah and Micheal found the rest they sought.


  • Thanks again, Glen.

  • I remember how little he was the first time I saw him on TV. Singing “oh baby give me one more chance…” with his little pantsuit on and dwarfed by his brothers. He never had a life of his own.
    The glaring eyes of the public where always there to judge and pry at his life and every move he made.

    I never believed he was guilty of anything bad with those kids…he was living a second-chance childhood with them..a childhood he never got to live…

  • Perhaps I’m getting cynical in my old age. Sure, I feel bad for Michael. So young with so much future left to live. Scanning the news cable and broadcast channels I am amazed at the coverage. Yes, this is the passing of a king of Pop Culture. Farrah Fawcett’s passing is the same. Yet the death of Ed McMahon never got this much press and he played a more pivotal role in the lives of many a television viewing United Statesian.

    The coverage afforded to these individuals while justified in many ways is a testament to all that we have lost sight of as a society. When a flawed governor of a Bible Belt state gets more press than a hearing on immigration in Congress the truth is manifested ever so bluntly. Our priorities are screwed up and the ultimate irony is that those who passed this day knew it. We have yet to figure it out.

  • Oh I hate that where, were word! You know what I mean anyway…:(

  • Well said Silas.

  • Hi Cindy:)

  • I think we’re sharing the same emotions, Cindy.

  • Thanks for the article Glen, quite shocking and sad! Michael Jackson “King of Pop” will be missed!

  • One of the times we lived in LA, my sister went to a school for the handicapped. She was on the wheelchair basketball team where stars were invited to play with the kids. Farrah Fawcett refused to be seen in a wheelchair. Said it was bad for her image. As my sister recalls Eric Estrada and Fred Gwynne among others played.

    (Unrelated sorta, but I have to put a nice word in for him. My sister had an appointment, through school, to interview Andy Griffith, but she had to go into the hospital. He took the list of questions from her friend and made a tape for my sister.)

  • Hiya Jeannie 🙂

    I think so, Silas. MJ was two years older than me. I lived in LA at the time. My friend wanted to marry him when she grew up. She was in fifth grade, I was in sixth. He was just a kid. Like us.

    I wonder though about this: there are 1000s of people dying every day, in Peru, in Sri Lanka, Iraq, in Iran, in Afghanistan, in Gaza, and other places. The world seems to be dripping blood. Why don’t people feel bad about that?

    (At the same time, I am heartened, just lately, maybe only temporarily. The women and poor and oppressed of the world are talking more and more these days. They all begin to say something similar. Same as they have historically. Many come to recognize that freedom for all people whether they agree or are women or men or gay or Muslims is intertwined with their own freedom. Many who begin standing for one freedom end up standing for all freedom. Just something I see. May be my imagination.)

  • I think when a celebrity dies, even though you don’t personally know them,you know how they made you feel when you watched them.
    When they go you look at your own passing and realize it really won’t be that long even if your healthy!
    I cry for all the souls I see suffering in the streets of Iran…and all the others, but I knew Michael…you know?

  • So, why is it we don’t see ourselves in those 1000s of nameless everyday ordinary people? Why don’t we see our passing in theirs?

  • Cindy, I think the passing of MJ and Farrah is the passing of the torch for so many of us. MJ represented a different time and his contribution to pop culture created a new generation that didn’t necessarily turn out as well as it could. Farrah was the epitome of beauty – the ultimate fantasy of many a teenage boy. Her passing reminds so many of their own mortality.

    For me, the passing of Ed McMahon was far more significant in my reliving childhood memories. As a kid I would scoop up the TV Guide on Sunday night and map out the Johnny Carson Show. If I knew Carson was going to do Karnak or that slimy theater personality, I made sure I got up and would sneak into the den to watch it. Yeah, that’s unusual for a teenage boy, but I never did beat to the drum of the masses. Oh, and if I knew Bette Midler was scheduled all bets were off. I would beg my parents to let me stay up.

    The only thing Farrah and I have in common is that Ryan O’Neal was probably one of my first teenage crushes. I worshiped him. Again, I had weird tastes. I cried when Peter Jennings left ABC News the first time because I even had a crush on him when I was a mere lad.

    But back to Michael Jackson. All of the legal issues of the last 15 years coupled with his eccentricities caused a divide between the public and the personality. So many yesterday would snicker about MJ under their breaths and today they eulogize him as a pop icon and hero. There’s an hypocrisy to the manner in which the media is presenting the story of Michael Jackson’s death. Perhaps a kinder, gentler media while Michael Jackson was alive would not have resulted in the feeding frenzy experienced this June evening.

  • It must be very difficult finding out that fame and fortune isn’t the cure.

  • I don’t know if it’s just my TV (I don’t think it is either), but the sound on Jimmy Kimmel’s entire monologue tonight — which apears to be about Micheal Jackson — has been bleeped out by either ABC national or the local Seattle affiliate.


  • I’ve ripped into others for saying negative things about an individual immediately after he/she died, so I’ll adhere to my own rule and so only this:

    Blessed is the True Judge.

  • Amen Ruvy.

  • News reports this morning indicate authorities are looking for Jackson’s “physician”. Surprised? These so-called doctors who submit to a celebrity’s every whim for the sake of the almighty dollar need to be held accountable. Too many ‘stars’ have fallen because of addiction to drugs that were prescribed. If Jackson’s death is prescription drug related then at the very least his doctor should be charged with involuntary manslaughter. Send the doctor to prison, put him in general population and let the prisoners do him in. That would be justice.

  • Incredible piece by Lisa Marie Presley that is a must read. As far as I am concerned, Michael Jackson has finally achieved peace. The three children that remain are about to begin a horrible life in a fishbowl of their worst nightmares.

  • JC Mosquito

    Well, I feel bad for anyone passing, and though I think it will be agreed that MJ was a pop star of great significance, there are many for whom this is simply another celebrity news story. Not everyone in the world was a fan – he always had his share of detractors.

  • I miss you micheal 🙁 R.I.P

  • It’s so a shame he died.. i really miss him. his music was the best.. R.I.P. M.J.