Pop giant Michael Jackson, who took to the stage as a child star and set the world dancing to exuberant rhythms for decades, died on Thursday, TMZ website reported. He was 50.
There was no official confirmation of the reported death and spokespersons for Jackson could not be reached for comment.
“We’ve just learned Michael Jackson has died,” TMZ said.
“Michael suffered a cardiac arrest earlier this afternoon at his Holmby Hills home and paramedics were unable to revive him. We’re told when paramedics arrived Jackson had no pulse and they never got a pulse back,” the entertainment site said.
Michael Jackson Dies at age 50
It added, “A source tells us Jackson was dead when paramedics arrived.”
Earlier, the Los Angeles Times said the singer had been rushed to a Los Angeles-area hospital by fire department paramedics who found him not breathing when they arrived at the singer’s home.
The newspaper said paramedics performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation at the scene before taking him to the UCLA Medical Center hospital.
Jackson had been due to start a series of comeback concerts in London on July 13 running until March 2010. The singer, whose hits included “Thriller” and “Billie Jean,” had been rehearsing in the Los Angeles area for the past two months.
The shows for the 50 London concerts sold out within minutes of going on sale in March.
His lifetime record sales tally is believed to be around 750 million, which, added to the 13 Grammy Awards he received, makes him one of the most successful entertainers of all time.
He lived as a virtual recluse since his acquittal in 2005 on charges of child molestation.
There were concerns about Jackson’s health in recent years but the promoters of the London shows, AEG Live, said in March that Jackson had passed a 4-1/2 hour physical examination with independent doctors.
Jackson was born on August 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana, the seventh of nine children. Five Jackson boys — Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael — first performed together at a talent show when Michael was 6. They walked off with first prize and went on to become a best-selling band, The Jackson Five, and then The Jackson 5.
Jackson made his first solo album in 1972, and released “Thriller” in 1982, which became a smash hit that yielded seven top-10 singles. The album sold 21 million copies in the United States and at least 27 million worldwide.
The next year, he unveiled his signature “moonwalk” dance move while performing “Billie Jean” during an NBC special.
In 1994, Jackson married Elvis Presley’s only child, Lisa Marie, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1996. Jackson married Debbie Rowe the same year and had two children, before splitting in 1999. The couple never lived together.
Jackson has three children named Prince Michael I, Paris Michael and Prince Michael II, known for his brief public appearance when his father held him over the railing of a hotel balcony, causing widespread criticism.
In memorium: Michael Jackson dead at 50
03:20 PM PT, Jun 25 2009
As news reports and shocked reactions ripple around the world about the news of his death, it’s impossible not to reflect on the eternal and profound mark he left on music and pop culture at large.
While there are countless nerve-tingling moments in his storied career, few had as cataclysmic and immediate impact as his performance of “Billie Jean” on the now legendary “Motown 25: Yesterday, Today and Forever” TV special in 1983. For anyone who was there or watching it as it happened, it was a moment that literally changed pop culture overnight.
In celebration of the music and memories, here is that magical moment to relive all over again.
Please feel free to use the comments section to share your thoughts, memories and remembrances of the eternal King of Pop.
– Scott T. Sterling
The Three Who Died: Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon
Yesterday began the deaths of three major figures, each of whom played a part in the advertising world throughout their careers. The latest and maybe most relevant is Michael Jackson, who reportedly died earlier today after suffering a heart attack; he was 50. Before him was Farrah Fawcett, who battled cancer for three years before succumbing to it; she was 62. And yesterday we learned of the passing of Ed McMahon who was 86.
Each of these loved personalities lived his or her life in the limelight and as part of their celebrity status were offered advertising opportunities. The ads they took part in stick out in many of our minds (though we’re not airing the Pepsi ad where Jackson’s hair is lit on fire, for obvious reasons). Jackson and Pepsi, McMahon and Publisher’s Clearing House, Fawcett and Noxzema.