Michael Jackson was and still is a huge international music star and has been one of the leading male music artists of the last three decades. Michael passed away on 25 June 2009 after suffering a heart attack in Los Angeles, just weeks before he was due to begin his comeback This Is It! tour at London's O2 Arena.
Before various allegations surrounding Michael's death started up in the press, and talk of a possible addiction to painkillers, stress and anorexia began, tributes instantly flooded in to pay homage to a legend. "Absolutely devastated" were music producer of the Thriller video Quincy Jones' chosen words; "Heartbroken" said Michael's ex-wife Lisa Marie Presley; and film producer Stephen Spielberg perhaps summed up the epic nature of Michael's death when he said: "Just as there will never be another Fred Astaire or Chuck Berry or Elvis Presley, there will never be anyone comparable to Michael Jackson."
Born on 28 August 1958 in Gary, Indiana, as one of nine kids (and the seventh in the line), Michael has lived most of his life in the limelight, debuted in 1968 at the age of 11 in the Jackson Five. After starting his muscial career in the family band The Jackson Five Michael went on to release his first solo album in 1979 "=Off the Wall, followed by Bad, Dangerous, Thriller and HIStory. Jackson had become one of the few African-American performers to achieve fandom on MTV, and his videos for such hits as Beat it, Scream and Black Or White were regarded as works of art.
You all know the story from there on - lots of hit records, lots of plastic surgery, two wives (one of them the daughter of Elvis), three children and lots of accusations. Whatever you think about the man, though, he is undeniably a great musician and dancer. He was also a style icon to many, renowned for his white socks and black loafers and a penchant for military-inspired clothing with a generous helping of encrusted crystals.
Michael is also one of the few artists to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. He has also achieved multiple Guinness World Records - including one for "Most Successful Entertainer of All Time" - 13 Grammy Awards, 13 number-one singles in his solo career, and the sale of 750 million records worldwide.
From his appearances with the Jackson 5, to the global frisson of excitement surrounding his upcoming This Is It tour at the O2 Arena in July 2009, Michael always held our interest. Many will have attempted to mimic the star's famous moonwalk or crotch-grabbing dance moves, and spent our youth dancing to hits such as Don't Stop Til You Get Enough. The truth is, the music world couldn't get enough of him, despite his increasingly bizarre appearance and court cases along the way. He Thriller-d us - to the tune of 65 million copies of his hit album being sold and, no doubt sales will continue to sky-rocket in years to come. Because that is his legacy - hip-rocking, foot-tapping tunes and an iconic white glove that will forever have its place in fashion history. Michael, you will be missed.