Shocked world pays tribute to King of Pop
By the German Press Agency dpa Jun 26, 2009, 14:04 GMT
Michael Jackson died after reportedly suffering cardiac arrest at his home in Los Angeles yesterday (25.06.09). EPA/HERBERT SPIES
Former Beatle Paul McCartney led entertainers, musicians, statesmen and legions of fans around the world Friday in paying tribute to Michael Jackson - after the surprise death at 50 of the man dubbed the 'King of Pop'.
McCartney, who duetted with the American singer in the 1980s, said he was 'privileged to have hung out and worked with Michael.'
'It's so sad and shocking,' the ex-Beatle said. 'He was a massively talented boy-man with a gentle soul. His music will be remembered forever and my memories of our time together will be happy ones.'
The former child star with the Jackson Five died Thursday of an apparent cardiac arrest at his home in California.
Hollywood action hero turned California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, echoed that tribute. |Today, the world has lost one of the most influential and iconic figures in the music industry,' he said.
'Michael was a pop phenomenon who never stopped pushing the envelope of creativity,' he said.
Britain's Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, was one of the most senior of world political leaders to pay tribute, saying his thoughts were with the Jackson family.
Jackson's death was 'very sad news for the millions of Michael Jackson fans in Britain and around the world,' his spokesman said.
But it was not just politicians and celebrities queuing up to share their memories and grief for the premature end to one of the world's greatest entertainers and biggest-selling artists.
At Britain's Glastonbury Music Festival - which is taking place this weekend - fan David Harris, 27, compared Jackson to Kurt Cobain, the 1990s rock star who committed suicide.
'Michael Jackson is like Kurt Cobain for people of my generation. He is central for our generation,' he said.
On the Twitter social-networking site, rap impresario Sean Combs wrote: 'Michael Jackson showed me that you can actually see the beat. He made the music come to life!! He made me believe in magic.'
Politician and one-time presidential candidate the Reverend Jesse Jackson - no relation to the late pop idol - talked about the singer's talent and problems.
'We are out of joy, he is out of his pain,' Jackson said.
At Harlem's Apollo Theatre in New York City, where the Jackson Five group got its start when Michael was a young child, hundreds gathered to play tribute and sing his songs.
In Berlin some forlorn fans headed to the waxworks museum Madame Tussaud's, to see their effigy of Jackson, for want of any other obvious venue.
Bee Gees star Robin Gibb called Jackson a 'wonderful, sensitive human being', but bemoaned the criticism the singer had come under later in life.
'If even a small portion of the praise that is bestowed on Michael Jackson now in death was given to him last year, in life, he might well still be with us,' he said.
'This tragedy should teach us a lesson to value and praise those gifts while we still have them in the world.'
A sign of Jackson's undimmed star power came from the fact that 24-hour news channels ran wall-to-wall coverage, newspaper cleared their front pages for pictures of the late star, and so great was the rush of internet searches for news on the singer, Google initially thought it was under attack from a virus.
Also in the German capital, the exclusive Adlon hotel, where Jackson notoriously hung one of his toddlers out of a upper-floor window, said it 'greatly regretted' the death of their former guest.
In India, where Jackson was a leading influence on the so-called 'Bollywood' Hindi film industry scores of fans and personalities grieved the loss.
'The man gave modern pop its identity and gave all of us lessons in music. He truly was the god of pop. Maybe the only singer in history who everyone knows across the globe,' singer Palash Sen told the IANS news agency.
Film director Martin Scorsese, who directed Jackson's Bad video, said of the singer and dancer that it was 'like watching quicksilver in motion.'
'I was in awe of his absolute mastery of movement on the one hand, and of the music on the other. Every step he took was absolutely precise and fluid at the same time.'
Stephen Spielberg said simply 'Just as there will never be another Fred Astaire or Chuck Berry or Elvis Presley, there will never be anyone comparable to Michael Jackson.'
And across Europe, as people woke up to the surprise news, sales of his albums dominated online charts.
Perhaps the most unlikely outreach of Jackson's fame came in the Philippines, where 1,400 inmates of a prison became a YouTube hit in 2007 after performing the dance routine from Thriller.
'Inmates are still in grief after learning that their idol is already dead,' security chief Byron Garcia said.