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This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
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And I'm David Greene.
After years of financial and personal setbacks, Michael Jackson was ready for a comeback. He was about to begin a series of concerts in Europe and fans were flocking for tickets. But now fans around the world are mourning his loss. The 50-year-old Pop icon died yesterday at his home in Los Angeles.
As NPR's Carrie Kahn reports, authorities are trying to learn more about what caused his death.
CARRIE KAHN: It all started with a 911 call coming from Jackson's rented mansion in an exclusive section of West Los Angeles. Paramedics found him there not breathing and apparently suffering from cardiac distress. They quickly rushed him to the nearby UCLA Medical Center but it was too late. Jackson's brother Jermaine confirmed the news to a packed gallery of reporters.
Mr. JERMAINE JACKSON (Brother, Michael Jackson): 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.
KAHN: As TV news helicopters circled the hospital, a huge crowd gathered outside singing Jackson's hits and chanting his name.
(Soundbite of chanting)
Unidentified Group: Michael, Michael, Michael, Michael, Michael, Michael…
KAHN: Conrad Leher(ph), a postal worker heard about Jackson's collapse on the radio and rushed over. She says she parked her car and as she stepped out the crowd shouted that Jackson had died.
Ms. CONRAD LEHER: And I just screamed, you know, and people stopped in the street. Just as the people heard it and it was just like people everybody was in shock.
KAHN: Canidra Hubbard(ph), visiting LA from Cincinnati, took her whole family to the medical center. She held up a handmade sign that read - Rest in peace. I love you, Michael.
Ms. CANIDRA HUBBARD: Thank you Michael Jackson for everything you stood for in life. He has touched the world. The world has lost…
(Soundbite of mourning)
KAHN: Fans mourn not just the loss of the music they grew up with but also a chance to ever hear Michael perform again.
(Soundbite of song, "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough")
Mr. MICHAEL JACKSON (Singer): (Singing) Lovely is the feelin' now.
KAHN: Jackson had been in Los Angeles rehearsing for his big comeback - what he said would be his last tour of 50 sold out shows to begin in London next month. It was a chance to recover from his years of financial troubles and to redeem his tattered personal life. Jackson faced high profile accusations of inappropriate contact with young boys. And in 2005 was put on trial for molesting a 13-year-old cancer survivor at his Santa Barbara ranch, Neverland. Tom Mesereau helped Jackson win acquittal in that trial and says the pop star was burdened by people who used him.
Mr. TOM MESEREAU (Attorney, Michael Jackson): I think it caused a certain level of isolation and distrust on the part of someone who really just wanted to be a very, very gentle, nice, kind-hearted soul and have similar people around him.
KAHN: His financial problems continued and Jackson contracted Darren Julien to auction his belongings earlier this year. But then the singer changed his mind and went to court to stop the sale. Out of all of Jackson's collectibles, Julien says he'll never forget the huge statues that filled Neverland.
Mr. DARREN JULIEN (Founder, Julien's Auctions): He had over 100 life-sized figures throughout the houses and the rooms and the game rooms. And it just, you know, the sad part of it was it kind of made us feel to some degree that he was lonely. And that's, I guess, what stood out mostly, you know, to me in my mind.
KAHN: Today the L.A. County Coroner's Office will try and learn more about the cause of Jackson's death. His autopsy is reportedly being expedited.
(Soundbite of song, "I'll Be There")
Mr. M. JACKSON: (Singing) You and I must make a pact, we must bring salvation back.
KAHN: Jackson leaves behind a string of hits that may never be surpassed. At the hospital yesterday, Jermaine Jackson offered his brother a final prayer.
Mr. J. JACKSON: May our love be with you, Michael always. Love you.
(Soundbite of song, "I'll Be There")
Mr. M. JACKSON: (Singing) Just call my name and I'll be there.
THE JACKSON 5 (Pop musical group): (Singing) I'll be there.
Carrie Kahn NPR News.
THE JACKSON 5: (Singing) And, ohhhhh, I'll be there to comfort you.
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