Remembering Michael Jackson Ten Years After His Death
Michael Jackson fans around the world are gearing up to mark the tenth anniversary of the death of the King of Pop.
But almost 10 years after his sudden death, Jackson’s legacy has been under fresh scrutiny since the release of a recent documentary about alleged child sex abuse that has been met with outrage by the singer’s family and fans.
Jackson, a child star turned King of Pop, set the world alight with his infectious songs and music videos. But his musical genius was overshadowed at times by a bizarre lifestyle and sex scandals.
Jackson, who died on June 25, 2009, was acquitted at a 2005 trial in California on charges of molesting a 13- year-old boy at his Neverland ranch in California. In 1994, he settled a sexual abuse lawsuit concerning another 13-year-old boy.
His family say they remember Jackson as a generous person who gave millions to charities, loved to have fun and wanted to unite people through his music.
Jackson died of cardiac arrest, age 50, on June 25, 2009, at his rented mansion in Los Angeles, as he was rehearsing for a series of London concerts aimed at reviving a career shattered by strange events as an adult and acquittal on charges of molestation.
Dr. Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson’s personal physician at the time of his 2009 death, was sentenced to four years for involuntary manslaughter by a Los Angeles court in 2011 over the singer’s death.
Known as the “King of Pop,” for hits that included “Thriller” and “Billie Jean,” Jackson’s dramatic, one-gloved stage presence and innovative dance moves were imitated by legions of fans around the world.
His lifetime record sales tally is believed to be around 750 million, which, added to the 13 Grammy Awards he received, made him one of the most successful entertainers of all time.
But Jackson’s belief that “I am Peter Pan in my heart”, his preference for the company of children, his friendship with a chimp, his high-pitched voice and numerous plastic surgeries also earned him critics and the nickname “Wacko Jacko.”
Jackson, who had lived as a virtual recluse since his acquittal in 2005 on charges of child molestation, had been scheduled to launch a comeback tour in London in 2009.
Jackson was born on August 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana, the seventh of nine children. Five Jackson boys – Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael – first performed together at a talent show when Michael was 6. They walked off with first prize and went on to become a best-selling band, The Jackson Five, and then The Jackson 5.
Jackson made his first solo album in 1972, and released “Thriller” in 1982, which became a smash hit that yielded seven top-10 singles. The album sold 21 million copies in the United States and at least 27 million worldwide.
The next year, he unveiled his signature “moonwalk” dance move while performing “Billie Jean” during an NBC special.
In 1994, Jackson married Elvis Presley’s only child, Lisa Marie, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1996. Jackson married Debbie Rowe the same year and had two children, before splitting in 1999. The couple never lived together.
Jackson has three children named Prince Michael I, Paris Michael and Prince Michael II. The youngest was dangled by his father over the railing of a hotel balcony, which drew widespread criticism.