Michael Jackson dies at 50

By | June 25, 2009

I found out within 10 minutes after the LA Times reported it.  Amazing how fast information travels.  Farrah Fawcett Majors (62) and Michael Jackson (50) in one day! RIP. Wikipedia has a daily death list here. Perhaps we should do something about this whole death problem. Well, some people are working on it:

It is not known that human physical immortality is an unachievable condition. Biological forms have inherent limitations — for example, their fragility and slow adaptability to changing environments, which may or may not be able to be overcome through medical interventions or engineering. As of 2009, natural selection has developed biological immortality in at least one species, the jellyfish Turritopsis nutricula,[4] one consequence of which is a worldwide population explosion of the organism.[5]

Certain scientists, futurists, and philosophers, such as Ray Kurzweil, advocate that human immortality is achievable in the first few decades of the 21st century, while other advocates believe that life extension is a more achievable goal in the short term, with immortality awaiting further research breakthroughs farther into an indefinite future. Aubrey de Grey, a researcher who has developed a series of biomedical rejuvenation strategies to reverse human aging (called SENS), believes that his proposed plan for ending aging may be implementable in two or three decades.[6]wikipedia

Great, because being dead sounds boring. Has a single ghost ever been scientifically proven to be the returning spirit of someone who has died? I think not. Here is some stuff about Jackson:

At 3:24 pm Pacific time today, the LA Times reported that Jackson was dead. The New York Times already has a minute-by-minute account of what happened, starting with a 12:21 pm PST call to the parademics.  – lat

On a magical night in 1983, Michael Jackson struck a pose on stage, clasping the black fedora on his head with his white sequined glove. His black jacket and silver vest glittered as white socks showed under his high-water black pants. Then he erupted into a flurry of fluid dance moves in a performance of Billie Jean that would catapult the former child singing sensation into full-blown superstardom.

Probably no celebrity has been as revered and reviled over the past 40 years as Jackson, 50, who died Thursday in Los Angeles. The troubled, reclusive star was rushed to UCLA Medical Center by paramedics responding to a call from his home at about 12:30 p.m.

Jackson had been scheduled next month to begin the first of 50 sold-out concerts at London’s O2 Arena, a testament to his enduring popularity with fans around the world, a love affair that reached a peak on that March evening 26 years ago.

The occasion was the Motown 25: Yesterday, Today and Forever television special that celebrated a milestone for the legendary label, but it was also a seminal moment for the King of Pop. A then-record 47 million people watched in awe as Jackson unveiled the moonwalk with an electrifying performance. Other Motown greats performed that night and Jackson himself had reunited with brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Randy for a walk down memory lane with the Jackson 5.

But in that moment, Jackson stood alone in the spotlight, a singular figure riding a wave of popularity rarely seen anywhere. His groundbreaking Thriller— still the biggest selling album of all time — was dominating the charts and Jackson was in the process of reshaping the musical landscape with his videos and celebrity. There were still millions of records to be sold, acclaimed videos to be filmed and record-shattering concert tours to undertaken.

It was also before years of tabloid exposes, bizarre behavior, artistic flops, financial crises, health issues and child sex abuse scandals tarnished his image. His run of triumphs in the 1980s, in addition to Thriller, included the blockbuster albums Off the Wall and Bad.

Since he first arrived on the scene in 1969 as the cherubic 11-year-old phenom leading the teen heartthrob J5 singing I Want You Back, Jackson has been at the forefront of pop culture.

He transformed pop music, becoming the first African-American singer to gain mass crossover appeal. The premiere of videos for songs likeBeat It, Billie Jean, Thriller, Bad andSmooth Criminalwere major events and he helped popularize the then-fledgling MTV. It, in turn, brought him into millions of homes daily.

Thriller won a record eight Grammy Awards in 1984. Virtually every song became a hit single and it changed the industry’s thinking about how albums were put together and marketed. It also opened the door for artists to have more creative freedom and higher royalty returns. At the same time, he inspired legions of imitators and a line of dolls and accessories.

He spent his life under the glare of paparazzi flashbulbs, but in recent years, he has more often been the subject of negative news about his eccentricities and personal life. Jackson’s seemingly charmed life started to change when a pyrotechnics accident during the filming of a Pepsi ad set his hair afire and burned his scalp. He got outpouring of sympathy after that and won a $1.5 million settlement from Pepsi, which he donated to charity.

But his health also became a public fascination, especially as he began to change his appearance through plastic surgery. He had several nose jobs, his lips thinned, and chin clef put in, among other alterations. Meanwhile, Jackson’s brown skin grew progressively lighter, rumored to be the result of skin bleaching, but later diagnosed as vitiligo. The skin disorder causes a loss of pigment.

Jackson himself fueled gossip column by leaking false stories that he slept in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, reportedly to slow the aging process, or next to the bones of Joseph Merrick, the 19th century Englishman known as “The Elephant Man” because of his congenital deformities.

He addressed many of these issues in his 1988 autobiography, Moonwalk, in which he also revealed that he had been physically abused as a child. That same year, he built his $17 million Neverland Ranch near Santa Ynez, Calif., replete with an amusement park and exotic animals.

And while none of his post-Thriller albums matched its success, 1987’s Bad, 1991’s Dangerous and 1995’s HIStory were still commercial successes. Jackson reminded the world again of his power as a artist with an exhilarating halftime performance at 1993’s Super Bowl XXVII before a U.S. TV audience of more than 135 million.

via – USAtoday

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