Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, has passed away at the age of 50.
Michael Jackson rose to fame alongside his brothers as the lead singer of the Jackson Five in the late 1960s. Before he had reached his teens, the group scored a string of No. 1 hits such as “I Want You Back” and “ABC.”
Jackson went on to even greater success as a solo artist.
His 1982 album “Thriller” which included the blockbuster hits “Beat It,” “Billie Jean” and “Thriller” is the best-selling album of all time, with an estimated 50 million copies sold worldwide.
He was perhaps the most exciting performer of his generation, known for his feverish, crotch-grabbing dance moves and his high-pitched voice punctuated with squeals and titters. His single sequined glove, tight, military-style jacket and aviator sunglasses were trademarks second only to his ever-changing, surgically altered appearance.
Jackson remained a major star for the next decade, but as the years passed he began receiving more attention for his eccentric behavior than for his music. In 1993, he was hit with the first of several accusations of child sexual abuse. Jackson eventually settled with the child’s family out of court, and no charges were brought. A separate case resulted in a heavily publicized trial in 2005; he was eventually acquitted.
“For Michael to be taken away from us so suddenly at such a young age, I just don’t have the words,” said Quincy Jones, who produced “Thriller.” “He was the consummate entertainer and his contributions and legacy will be felt upon the world forever. I’ve lost my little brother today, and part of my soul has gone with him.”
Jackson ranked alongside Elvis Presley and the Beatles as the biggest pop sensations of all time. He united two of music’s biggest names when he was briefly married to Presley’s daughter, Lisa Marie, and Jackson’s death immediately evoked that of Presley himself, who died at age 42 in 1977.
Earlier this year, Jackson announced his return to live performance with a series of 50 concerts in London, slated to begin July 13.