Michael Jackson's death at the age of 50 stunned the world - and in New York City, fans reacted with a mix of grief and celebration, gathering for impromptu vigils or to sing and dance in the streets.  Outside the famed Apollo theater, fans have been holding 24-hour memorials and dance parties. 

Word that pop idol Michael Jackson had died spread rapidly through New York City, as stunned residents sent text messages and emails to inform friends of the news.  Jackson's music streamed out of buildings, apartments and passing cars, and mourners set up memorials on streets and in city parks.

In New York's Harlem neighborhood, fans and community leaders gathered outside the famed Apollo theater to remember the artist and mourn his passing.  Jackson first played at the Apollo at the age of 9 when he was a member of the Jackson Five. 

The  Reverend Al Sharpton told the crowd he had been friends with the singer for 35 years.  He said Jackson didn't only change the face of dance and music, but also paved the way for other minorities to achieve great success in the United States. ""Michael Jackson made culture  accept a person of color way before Tiger Woods, way before Oprah Winfrey, way before Barack Obama.  Michael did with music what they later did in sports, and in politics and in television," he said.

Jackson's death reverberated with New Yorker's of every race, age or gender.  Sheila Cline from Harlem said that Michael Jackson's music took her back to her childhood. "Losing Michael Jackson is a great loss. He's one of the greatest artists of all times.  I learned to dance from Michael. I was in the Michael Jackson talent show," she said.

Another fan, Henry Green of the Bronx, said Jackson's fame also transcended national borders. "The loss of Michael Jackson?he wasn't just an American icon or a pop icon, he was a global icon. This guy had the total package," he said.

Jackson's body has been released to his family and additional toxicology and pulmonary testing is under way to determine what caused the singer's untimely death.