Michael Jackson, known as the King of Pop, died suddenly Thursday in Los Angeles at the age of 50. Entertainment stars and fans are offering condolences over the death of the pop singer.
The call went out to paramedics shortly after noon that Michael Jackson had suffered an apparent cardiac arrest at his rented home in the Holmby Hills section of the city. He was rushed to the University of California, Los Angeles medical center. His brother Jermaine later said that doctors were unable to revive him.
"A team of doctors, including emergency physicians and cardiologists, attempted to resuscitate him for a period of more than one hour," said Jackson.
A short time later, a helicopter was seen taking the singer's body to a waiting ambulance. Los Angeles Police Department Lieutenant Gregg Strenk told reporters an autopsy is planned.
"Currently, the LA County coroner's office is taking possession of Mr. Jackson's body," he said. "They will handle any other inquiries into the type of death or anything that relates to that."
An autopsy is expected to be conducted Friday.
Fans remember pop icon
As news got out, hundreds of fans converged on the medical center. Others gathered on Hollywood Boulevard at the singer's star on the Walk of Fame.
Michael Jackson was born in 1958, the seventh of nine children, and he first found fame as a singer and dancer in the family pop group The Jackson 5. He outshone his siblings and by age eight, was the star of the group, thrilling audiences with favorites like "ABC."
In his later solo career, Jackson became a superstar. His 1982 album Thriller, with its blockbuster hits "Beat It," ''Billie Jean" and "Thriller", was the biggest-selling album of all time.
That year, he first performed his trademark moonwalk dance, gliding backwards while appearing to walk forward. The singer pioneered the music video genre, and arguably became the world's top musical performer.
Controversy plagued Jackson
Jackson was plagued by controversy as the years went by. He had multiple plastic surgeries and critics raised questions about his close friendships with children. Accused of molesting a 13-year-old cancer survivor in 2003, he was acquitted of charges two years later. But his reputation was in tatters, and he struggled with financial problems.
He was scheduled to begin a series of 50 comeback concerts in London. The first was set for July 13 , and the shows were to continue through early next year. Tickets, offered in March, sold out in minutes.
Friends offer support
While many kept their distance from the tarnished pop star, some friends supported him. The singer Lisa Minelli, learning of his death, called him a kind and genuine man. Fellow pop star Madonna told People magazine she could not stop crying over the news. Jackson's close friend, the actress Elizabeth Taylor, said she was too distraught to issue a statement.
Jackson was married twice. In 1994, he married Lisa Marie Presley, the only daughter of the late pop star Elvis Presley. The couple divorced in 1996. That year, he married Debbie Rowe and they divorced three years later. Jackson had three children, two born to Debbie Rowe and one to a surrogate mother.