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Michael Jackson Dead At 50

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson at a March 5, 2009 press conference in London, announcing plans to appear at the London O2 Arena in July. AP Photo/Joel Ryan, file hide caption

itoggle caption AP Photo/Joel Ryan, file

Update 10:10 PM ET In the last hour, Michael Jackson's body was removed from the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and brought to the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office. A photo which is being billed of the last one of the entertainer was shown on CNN. It appears to have been shot through the ambulance's window and shows a paramedic using a respirator on Jackson whose eyes appear closed.

Jermaine Jackson, the superstar's brother, read a brief statement to the press.

Here's the statement:

My brother, the legendary king of pop Michael Jackson, passed away on Thursday, June 25, 2009 at 2:26 p.m. It is believed he suffered cardiac arrest in his home. However, the cause of his death is unknown until results of the autopsy are done.

His personal physician, who was with him at the time, attempted to resuscitate my brother. As did the paramedics who transmitted him to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Upon arriving at the hospital at approximately 1:14 p.m., a team of doctors including emergency physicians and cardiologists, attempted to resuscitate him for a period of more than one hour and they were unsuccessful.

Our family requests that the media please respect our privacy during this tough time.

May Allah be with you, Michael, always. Love you.

Update 9:07 PM Still no hospital press conference. I need to sign off for a bit. Check NPR.org for further updates until I can get back online, probably in about an hour.

Update 8:53 PM Greg Strank, a detective with Los Angeles Police Department's robbery and homicide unit, told journalists gathered outside Michael Jackson's house that the media shouldn't read anything significant into officers from his unit being on the scene. "We investigate deaths every day," he said, adding that the high profile nature of the case led the the LAPD chief to have his unit secure the scene and conduct an investigation. He wouldn't answer questions beyond the time the police were notified, at about 1:00 PM Los Angeles time, and the time the cultural icon was pronounced dead, 2:30 PM Los Angeles time.

Update at 8:45 PM CNN's Roland Martin reports on the network that he talked with Marlon Jackson, Michael Jackson's brother. Marlon said he learned of his brother's death at his home in Georgia when his daughter saw the news on TV and said "Dad, they're saying Uncle Mike died." Martin reports that Marlon called his brother's agent who confirmed the news, saying "We lost him."

Martin then said that Marlon told him that the agent told the Jackson brother that the superstar complained of feeling ill last night. He didn't go to the hospital. He then collapsed today. Paramedics were called and arrived at the house at 12:20 PM Los Angeles time and was pronounced dead at 2:30 PM.

Update at 8:35 PM NPR's Neda Ulaby has this Michael Jackson obituary on the NPR Music site.

Update at 8:24 PM People are dancing outside the Apollo Theater to Michael Jackson tunes. And the Apollo has changed its marquee to read "In Memory of Michael Jackson, A True Apollo Legend. 1958-2009." Meanwhile, still no press conference at the hospital.

Update at 8:09 PM TMZ.com has a live stream up of the scene in front of the UCLA Medical Center. They're waiting for a hospital press conference to begin.

Update 8:04 PM Tributes.com has set up a page for fans to leave their condolences, thoughts and memories: http://www.tributes.com/Michael-Jackson

Updated 7:45 PM Jeffrey Toobin, CNN's legal analyst, was part of an interesting discussion in which he said it shouldn't be forgotten that Jackson had very disturbing relationships with young boys. Don't think there was really any danger of that happening.

Anthony DeCurtis of Rolling Stone had a great line. Paraphrasing, it was something like Jackson was an adult as a child and a child as an adult.

7:40 PM Well, that didn't take long. CNN has video of Rev. Al Sharpton standing outside of the Apollo Theater in Harlem. Sharpton showed a 1980 picture of himself with Jackson and James Brown, who Sharpton once worked for. Sharpton also said that it was Jackson who made "culture" accept black people, that Jackson was a trailblazer before Tiger Woods, Oprah and President Barack Obama. "Michael did in music what they later did in sports, politics and television," Sharpton said.

Updated 7:35 PM CNN just confirmed that Michael Jackson is dead, more than two hours after TMZ.com first reported it. They got it from the Los Angeles coroner. Better safe than sorry, CNN clearly decided.

They also had a reporter from an entertainment website who read a note from Michael Levine, Jackson's publicist from the first molestation trial with Levine saying he wasn't surprised since Jackson was "self-destructive."

Levine's statement:

As someone who served as Michael Jackson's publicist during the 1st child molestation incident, I must confess I am not surprised by today's tragic news.

Michael has been on an impossibly difficult and often self-destructive journey for years. His talent was unquestionable but so too was his discomfort with the norms of the world.

A human simply can not withstand this level of prolonged stress.''

CNN reporter, Ted Rowlands, at the UCLA Medical Center, reports more details, that Jackson collapsed at his Beverly Hills home today and couldn't be revived.

CNN now has Fred Corral of the LA Coroners office who says Jackson was pronounced dead at the hospital at 2:26 pm, Los Angeles time. LAPD detectives notified the coroners office. Corral says the coroner won't have any information until an investigation is done. The autopsy would likely be done Friday.

Updated 7:14 PM CNN is interviewing a man the network identified as Brian Oxman, a personal friend of Michael Jackson's and Jackson family attorney, who said he was at the hospital where Jackson was pronounced dead. Oxman said there were concerns that Jackson was taking prescription drugs and that he was recently surrounded by people who "enabled" him perhaps to over medicate himself.

We, of course, have no way of confirming this right now. Oxman went further to cite the case of Anna Nicole Smith who died of a prescription drug overdose and indicates Jackson's situation was worse than hers. Again, can't confirm but this is now out there from someone who was, at least at one point, a Jackson insider.

Updated 6:52 PM CNN is showing the large crowds gathering outside the UCLA Medical Center as word spreads of Michael Jackson's death.

Also, statements from entertainment giants are starting to come in. Quincy Jones, who produced Jackson's "Thriller" album, among others, said this:

"I am absolutely devastated at this tragic and unexpected news. For Michael to be taken away from us so suddenly at such a young age, I just don't have the words. Divinity brought our souls together on The Wiz and allowed us to do what we were able to throughout the 80's. To this day, the music we created together on "Off The Wall," "Thriller" and "Bad" is played in every corner of the world and the reason for that is because he had it all...talent, grace, professionalism and dedication. He was the consummate entertainer and his contributions and legacy will be felt upon the world forever. I've lost my little brother today, and part of my soul has gone with him."

John Landis, the film director who directed the Jackson's spectacular and groundbreaking "Thriller" video, among other videos, also issued a statement:

I was lucky enough to know and work with Michael Jackson in his prime. 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.

Updated at 6:50 PM We still don't know many important details about what happened with Michael Jackson today. But what we do know is that he is dead at age 50 of an apparent cardiac arrest.

According to reports, a 911 call was made from the home Jackson rented and when paramedics arrived, they found him non-responsive and not breathing. Paramedics reportedly tried to resuscitate him. We don't know whether they were able to revive him before he arrived at hospital or once there.

With Jackson's death, the world has lost the man who wanted to be known as the King of Pop and who had legitimate claim to the title.

He was one of the most important artists of his era or any period. His "Thriller" album remains the best-selling album of all times and his signature "moonwalk" and gloved hand were instantly recognized and imitated by millions.

A generation of the world's population grew up with him and followed his career from the time he was a five year old. Succeeding generations seemed to come to know and him almost as well.

But he also was a tragic, troubled figure and all those details will be plumbed in the succeeding days and weeks. That often comes with genius. And he was that, an entertainment genius.

Updated at 6:23 PM — The LA Times is now reporting that Michael Jackson has died at age 50. TMZ.com reported his death just under an hour ago. CNN is reporting that CBS News also reports that he's dead, as does the Associated Press.

Updated 6:11 PM The LA Times is reporting that Michael Jackson is in a coma following an apparent cardiac arrest. This is obviously a conflict with the TMZ report that he had died. Many journalists, including NPR reporters, are trying to confirm any and all of these details.

Update 5:45 PM: TMZ.com is now reporting that Michael Jackson has died of "cardiac arrest." NPR is now trying to confirm this as well.

Update 5:33 PM: TMZ.com has a photo that it indicates is of Jackson being wheeled on a stretcher into the hospital. They also write this:

We just got off the phone with Joe Jackson, Michael's dad, who says "he is not doing well."

The Los Angeles Times is reporting the pop star Michael Jackson has been rushed to the hospital and that he wasn't breathing when paramedics arrived at his location. Paramedics had to perform CPR.

Here's the report:

Pop star Michael Jackson was rushed to a hospital this afternoon by Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics.

Capt. Steve Ruda said paramedics responded to a call at Jackson's home around 12:26 p.m. He was not breathing when they arrived. The parademics performed CPR and took him to UCLA Medical Center, Ruda told The Times.

The news comes as Jackson was attempting a comeback after years of tabloid headlines, most notably his trial and acquittal on child molestation charges.

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