Michael Jackson Announces 'Final' Concerts

Singer describes series of London shows in July as 'the final curtain call.'

[artist id="1102"]Michael Jackson[/artist] announced on Thursday (March 5) that he will play what he described as a "final curtain call" via a series of shows at London's O2 Arena this summer.

Taking the stage in one of his signature quasi-military outfits at a podium that read, "King of Pop Michael Jackson: This Is It," the singer told the assembled media and cheering crowd, "This is it! I just want to say these will be my final shows, performances in London ... When I say this is it, it really means, this is it," according to CNN.

Jackson promised to perform "the songs my fans want to hear" and promised again that "this is the final curtain call. I'll see you in July."

The troubled pop singer, who has made few public appearances since his acquittal on child-molestation charges in 2005, is slated to play a 10-show run at the venue that will kick off on July 8. It was unclear at press time whether the singer meant the shows will be his final appearances in London, or that he's retiring from performing.

The event, which came complete with its own Twitter page, reportedly drew thousands of fans to watch the press conference, many carrying banners and signs in support of the singer, whose star has dimmed considerably since his heyday in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Though details about the event have been kept under wraps and because Jackson was predictably late (90 minutes by some reports), the posters hyping the shows that went up around London on Thursday began leaking onto the Web well before the announcement. Before leaving the stage, he told the excited crowd, "I love you. I really do, from the bottom of my heart."