"High School Musical" star [artist id="2103458"]Ashley Tisdale[/artist] is still stunned by [artist id="1102"]Michael Jackson's[/artist] unexpected death last week. Only a day before he died, Jackson was rehearsing for his upcoming 50-date London concert series with "High School Musical" director Kenny Ortega.
And though the 23-year-old actress and singer wasn't even born when Thriller came out, she told MTV News that Jackson was a big influence on her music and the work of her "HSM" castmates.
"I've loved Michael Jackson, his music, his music videos," Tisdale said. "I mean, the man made music videos what they are today. So, I've always been inspired by him. I think he's such a great dancer.
"It was definitely a shock," she added of Jackson's sudden passing. "It's really hard when a celebrity dies out of nowhere, 'cause it's very shocking ... surreal."
Tisdale was looking forward to seeing what Ortega and Jackson would be debuting on July 13, when Jackson was scheduled to kick off his This Is It tour. She said she and her "HSM" buddies were going to make the trek overseas to see it for themselves.
"We were all gonna go see him in London and go visit and watch the show," she said, adding that the show would have also included dancers from the "HSM" movies. "We had a lot of our dancers in the production as well. I know they're going through as really hard time as well. Hopefully, he's in a better place now."
Don't miss "Michael Jackson: Picking Up the Pieces," Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET on CBS, featuring a special report from MTV News.
For complete coverage of the life, career and passing of the legendary entertainer, visit "Michael Jackson Remembered."
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