Michael Jackson, a man known by many as the King of Pop, passed away at the age of 50 on Thursday, June 25 after suffering cardiac arrest in his Los Angeles, CA home. His death came just before what was to be his "comeback" tour with 50 sold out shows at London's O2 Arena that were set to begin on July 13 and end on March 6, 2009.
While Michael may be gone, he most certainly will never be forgotten. In his career he sold an estimated 750 million records, released 13 number 1 singles and was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the Most Successful Entertainer of All Time. Along with the legacy he created for himself, his memory will be held with the countless number of musicians he has inspired and collaborated with over the years. People from every genre imaginable have cited Michael Jackson as a constant inspiration to them and these people haven taken to the internet to voice their feelings about the star's passing.
Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen: "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."
Queen guitarist Brian May: "Hard to know what to say - what to feel. I find myself wondering what might have happened on his tour... the number of dates in the UK that he had committed to was insane... I did have a feeling it was impossible... but I was so shocked to hear that he went so suddenly. Very sad. Of course I still think of him as a boy... he used to come and see us [Queen] play when we were on tour in the States, and he and Freddie became close friends... close enough to record a couple of tracks together at Michael's house... tracks which have never seen the light of day. Michael was the boy star of the Jackson Five, and always the most screamed at. I remember in their show, they tried very hard to make all the brothers equal in the presentation, but it was abundantly obvious that all most of the girl fans really wanted to see was little Michael. It was Michael who heard our track "Another One Bites the Dust" when he came to see us on "The Game" tour... and told us we were mad if we didn't release it as a single. Of course this was way before Michael's monster solo career began... but he was already in search of that fusion between Funk and Rock, Black and White, and the Thriller album was the consummation of that quest. There are many similarities between it and our "Hot Space" album... but our timing was out, really. Michael got it right in every respect... including timing... the world was just ready for it... and of course he was in a sense seeking the same ground, but coming from the opposite direction.
"Amusingly, after Freddie and Michael has spent some time together recording, Freddie came back and played us the work in progress, and he remarked that Michael had come up with a great album title ... BAD. A little later, Freddie smiled his wicked little conspiratorial smile, and said... "I have a perfect idea for our album title - you may love it or hate it... but think about it... we can call it... wait for it... Good"!!!
"I think the world is a more colourful place thanks to Michael's work... he was a truly wonderful performer at his peak - and had a great team around him, including, of course, genius Quincy Jones. I think he qualifies as a great artist; he devoted his whole body and soul to his art. It's as if, with all the changes he introduced to his body, his art actually became his body and his persona. Yes, I only hope he passed away in happiness, in great hopes and anticipation of his glorious comeback tour. RIP Michael."
Poison drummer Rikki Rockett: "Michael Jackson huge loss!!! The words genius and musical are used in the same sentence too often. Not in the case of Michael Jackson. His musical expression will never be topped and his inspiration will live forever. R.I.P."
Shinedown guitarist Zach Myers: "Sitting in a dressing room in Calgary, Canada I am more saddened than I can remember in maybe the last five years. Call the guy whatever you want... judge his actions, judge his judgments, and judge the man any way in any language you want. But Michael Jackson was the best. There was no one better. There never will be anyone better. People don't try anymore. You can take any pretty loser who can't sing who has a good smile and sells records and make him a star. Just look at Anyone on the charts today. Today we lost a part of music history, a legend, and the greatest pop music artist there ever will be. The things Michael created on 'Thriller', 'Off The Wall' and 'Bad' will never be matched. By anyone ever. Michael Jackson was the best. People believed in Michael Jackson who didn't believe in Jesus. And that, my friends, is a legend. God bless Michael Jackson's music, his soul, and his legend. That can never be replaced. Rest in peace, sir. God bless your soul."
Velvet Revolver/ex-Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash (Slash played guitar on two Michael Jackson singles, "Black Or White" and "Give In To Me"): "Really sad news about Michael. He was a talent from on high."
Lisa Marie Presley, former wife of Michael Jackson and daughter of Elvis Presley: "I am so very sad and confused with every emotion possible. I am heartbroken for his children who I know were everything to him and for his family. This is such a massive loss on so many levels, words fail me."
Sean "Diddy" Combs: "Michael Jackson showed me that you can actually see the beat. He made the music come to life!! He made me believe in magic. I will miss him!"
Dick Clark, host of "American Bandstand": "I knew Michael as a child and watched him grow over the years. Of all the thousands of entertainers I have worked with, Michael was THE most outstanding. Many have tried and will try to copy him, but his talent will never be matched."
Del Bryant, President & CEO, Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI): "Michael Jackson was clearly one of the greatest entertainers of our era. His influence dominated and defined our culture not only in music, but in fashion, dance, film and so much more. Often overlooked are his spectacular skills as a songwriter, composing both music and lyrics for his immense body of work. In an era in which most songs are composed by teams, Michael was the sole composer of dozens of songs that endeared him to audiences around the world. A BMI songwriter since 1976, his BMI catalog contains more than 150 songs, more than 20 reaching multi-million performance status on American radio and television."
Jonelle Procope, Preszident & CEO, The Apollo Theater Foundation, Inc.: "The entire Apollo family is saddened to learn of Michael Jackson's untimely passing. Michael first performed at the Apollo in 1969 with his brothers when he was only nine years old, winning Amateur Night, and catapulting their career as the Jackson 5. We will always remember Michael in our hearts as a true Apollo legend, known for his professionalism and grace. Our sympathy goes out to his entire family. He will be deeply missed."
Britney Spears: "I was so excited to see his show in London. We were going to be on tour in Europe at the same time and I was going to fly in to see him. He has been an inspiration throughout my entire life and I'm devastated he's gone!"
Neil Portnow, President/CEO, The Recording Academy: "Rarely has the world received a gift with the magnitude of artistry, talent, and vision as Michael Jackson. He was a true musical icon whose identifiable voice, innovative dance moves, stunning musical versatility, and sheer star power carried him from childhood to worldwide acclaim. A 13-time GRAMMY recipient, Michael's career transcends musical and cultural genres and his contributions will always keep him in our hearts and memories. We are deeply saddened by this tragic news and our hearts go out to his family and to music lovers around the globe who mourn this great loss."
Russell Simmons, hip-hop entrepreneur and founder of Def-Jam Records: "Michael Jackson was my generation's most iconic cultural hero. Courageous, unique and incredibly talented. He'll be missed greatly."
From various Twitter.com accounts:
Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz: "I have never felt this before in my life. I could measure my childhood 2 now on an mj growth chart. if this is true. Rip. The last legend."
Matchbox 20 singer Rob Thomas: "Official. Michael jackson dies at 50. Speechless."
John Legend: "Terrible news about Michael Jackson"
John Mayer: "Dazed in the studio. A major strand of our cultural DNA has left us. RIP MJ.I think we'll mourn his loss as well as the loss of ourselves as children listening to Thriller on the record player. Michael Jackson, like James Brown and Prince, are nearly uncoverable. The tunes were about his innate talent and can't really be replicated."
Hanson: "It is difficult to think of a more impact full loss from the passing of an icon, than that of Michael Jackson."
Blink-182 bassist Mark Hoppus: "First album i ever bought was thriller. With birthday money. On cassette. For my brand new sony walkman. Truth. Rest in peace."
Report by David Lowe-Bianco.