[artist id=”1102″]Michael Jackson[/artist] died Thursday afternoon (June 25) at the age of 50 after suffering cardiac arrest.
Reports say the legendary pop singer collapsed and suffered cardiac arrest at his home in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Holmby Hills. A doctor present at the time of the incident performed CPR on the singer but could not revive him. He was not breathing and had no pulse when paramedics arrived after a 911 call around 12:26 p.m. PT. They administered CPR and took Jackson via ambulance to UCLA Medical Center but were unable to revive him.
At the hospital, a team of doctors, including emergency physicians and cardiologists, attempted to resuscitate him for more than an hour, but were unsuccessful. According to Jermaine Jackson, the singer’s brother, Michael was pronounced dead at 2:26 p.m.
During a brief press conference on Thursday evening, a visibly shaken Jermaine stepped in front of cameras and said, “This is hard.”
After describing details about the incident’s timeline, Jermaine closed by saying, “Our family requests that the media please respect our privacy during this tough time. And may Allah be with you, Michael, always.”
The exact circumstances surrounding Jackson’s death continue to remain unclear. Jackson’s brother Marlon told CNN that Michael was not feeling well Wednesday night and a doctor was called to the house. Jackson family attorney Brian Oxman speculated to CNN that the singer’s death might be related to the abuse of prescription medication.
Los Angeles Police Department robbery/homicide detectives have begun an investigation into the death, though there is no evidence of criminal wrongdoing. Detectives will interview relatives, friends and Jackson’s doctors. The L.A. County coroner’s office will conduct an autopsy Friday.
From his early career in the 1970s with his family group the Jackson 5 to his decades-long career as a solo artist, Jackson stood as one of the most successful and beloved pop artists of all time, selling more than 750 million albums worldwide. He won 13 Grammy Awards.
The Jackson 5’s first single, 1969’s “I Want You Back,” hit #1 on the Billboard charts, and the Motown group went on to become one of the most popular acts during the ’70s with hit singles like “ABC,” “I’ll Be There” and “The Love You Save.”
In 1978, Jackson joined Diana Ross in the big-screen musical “The Wiz,” an adaptation of the Broadway musical based on “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” His career as a solo artist took off with 1982’s Thriller, which stands as the biggest-selling album of all time. Over the course of his career, with hit albums like Bad and Dangerous, Jackson scored five #1 Billboard 200 albums and seven #1 Billboard Hot 100 singles.
But Jackson’s career faltered as he suffered several scandalous legal battles. In 1994, he settled a civil suit stemming from child-molestation accusations. In 2005, he was acquitted on 10 felony counts in a child-molestation trial brought against him, including four counts of lewd acts on a child under 14 and four counts of administering alcohol to enable child molestation.
Still, he released a greatest-hits album in 1995, which hit #1 on the Billboard chart, and embarked on a hugely successful world tour. His 2001 album, Invincible, also reached the top Billboard slot; it would prove to be his final studio album.
At the time of his death, Jackson was gearing up for a comeback, rehearsing for a series of 50 sold-out shows in London’s O2 arena that would jump-start a world tour, a new album and possibly a movie. In what is believed to be his final public appearance, Jackson showed up at a press conference in London wearing one of his signature quasi-military outfits and announced the initial plan for the concerts. Describing the shows as a “final curtain call,” Jackson told the assembled crowd of fans and media, “This is it. 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.”
Jackson eventually postponed by several days the July start of the O2 shows, raising questions about his health. But after his death, a source close to Jackson told MTV News, “Michael has been in rehearsals. He’s been in good spirits. He’s been rehearsing eight hours a day for the London concerts.”
On June 9, TMZ caught Jackson sitting in a black SUV. Asked if could still do the moonwalk, his signature dance move, Jackson replied, “Why wouldn’t I be able to?”
Born on August 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana, Jackson was the seventh of nine children. He married Lisa Marie Presley — Elvis’ only child — in 1994, but they divorced in 1996. The same year, Jackson married Debbie Rowe and had two children before splitting in 1999.
The singer is survived by three children: Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., Paris Michael Katherine Jackson and Prince “Blanket” Michael Jackson II.
Don’t miss “A Celebration of Michael Jackson on MTV,” airing at 6 p.m. ET/PT on MTV.
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[This story was originally published at 6:54 pm E.T. on 6.25.2009]