More of [artist id="1102"]Michael Jackson[/artist]‘s close friends and collaborators are speaking out and remembering the singer after news broke on Thursday of Jackson’s untimely passing . Everyone from [artist id="15373"]Diana Ross[/artist] and [artist id="12165"]Paul McCartney[/artist] to director John Landis are remembering how amazing it was to work with the legendary pop star who changed the sound and look of pop music indefinitely.
“I can’t stop crying; this is too sudden and shocking,” Jackson’s friend and co-star in “The Wiz” Diana Ross told MTV News in a statement. “I am unable to imagine this. My heart is hurting. I am in prayer for his kids and the family.”
“It’s so sad and shocking,” said former Beatle McCartney, who worked with Jackson on several songs (including “Say Say Say” and “The Girl is Mine”), but feuded with the singer after Jackson purchased the publishing rights to the Beatles catalog in a manner that McCartney felt was underhanded. But, according to The Associated Press, he said, “I feel privileged to have hung out and worked with Michael. He was a massively talented boy man with a gentle soul. His music will be remembered forever.”
Jackson’s longtime friend Brett Ratner told MTV News in a statement, “Michael was not only a great friend, but a true inspiration in my life. I will never forget his kindness to me, and his beautiful heart. He was the best father and truly loved his children. I will miss him.”
Eddie Van Halen, who played guitar on Jackson’s “Beat It,” told TMZ, “I am really shocked; as I’m sure the world is, to hear the news. I had the pleasure of working with Michael on ‘Beat It’ back in ’83 — one of my fondest memories in my career. Michael will be missed and may he rest in peace.”
John Landis, who directed Jackson’s groundbreaking music video for “Thriller” (and was suing the singer over a Broadway musical based on the video), issued a statement to TMZ about Jackson. “I was lucky enough to know and work with Michael Jackson in his prime,” the director said. “Michael was an extraordinary talent and a truly great international star. He had a troubled and complicated life and despite his gifts, remains a tragic figure. My wife, Deborah, and I will always have great affection for him.”
A spokesperson for Elizabeth Taylor, who supported Jackson through all of his legal dramas, told TMZ said that “Dame Elizabeth Taylor is too devastated by the passing of her dear friend Michael Jackson to issue a statement at this time.”
Meanwhile, actor Corey Feldman, who as a boy was friends with Jackson, admitted on his Web site that though he’d had a falling out with Jackson in 2001, “I come to you today with great sadness, acknowledging the loss of the greatest entertainer in the history of mankind. For me he was more than that, he was my idol, he was a role model, he was someone to cry to when my childhood was unbearable, he was a brother, he was a dear friend.
“I am trembling and shaking at the moment and it is very hard to type,” Feldman wrote.
“I am filled with tremendous sadness and remorse. All I choose to remember from this point is the good times we shared and what an inspiration he was to me and the rest of the world. Nobody will ever be able to do what Michael Jackson has done in this industry, and he was so close to doing it all again. I am truly, and deeply sorry for all of the heartbroken fans and supporters worldwide. I think I am still in shock. So I must end this now.”
MTV will be paying tribute to MJ throughout the weekend with music videos, exclusive performances and calls and tweets from celebrity admirers and friends. For everything we’ve got on the life, career and passing of the legendary entertainer, visit “Michael Jackson Remembered.”
Share your Michael Jackson memories by uploading video and comments to Your.MTV.com or joining the discussion below.