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A king is dead

The King of Pop, the Man in the Mirror, the Moonwalker…is dead at age 50, the result of cardiac arrest, according to various news reports.

Of course, this isn’t news to you. The headline’s been running nonstop since word first surfaced around 12:30 p.m. PST, yesterday, June 25, that Michael Jackson has left the building for the last time. But can you believe it? Has it sunk in yet?

I wasn’t even a twinkle in my father’s eye in the early ’80s when Jackson’s popularity skyrocketed into the ionosphere. (I know you were expecting stratosphere, but I find the term for the highest layer of our atmosphere to be the most fitting for this case.) But I became an immediate fan in 2000 at the age of 12 when my mom bought me my very first Jackson CD, “Thriller” (of course).

I think I was able to go a week before the repeat button on my boom box (wow, that makes me feel old) finally gave in and busted.

To say Jackson was unique is an understatement, and for anyone who knows anything about him would immediately agree (for the good, the bad or the ugly). For this reason, I don’t think there will ever be another musician, or person for that matter, to accumulate any level of fame that will even come close to reaching his status. Sure, there are and have been many greats to grace the entertainment world over the course of the past century, but how many can just about guarantee that every person on the face of this blue planet knows his or her name?

Answer: (a shocking) few to none.

The only person I can think of that rivals him is Elvis. (Notice how unnecessary it is for me to use a last name and you know exactly who I’m talking about.)

To this very day, Jackson still holds the world record for the highest grossing album ever. In total since its release date in 1982, “Thriller” has taken in more than $100 million. That’s more than double what the next albums in line – AC/DC’s “Back in Black” at $45 million, Meatloaf’s “Bat Out of Hell” at $43 million, and an Eagles greatest hits album at $42 million – have taken in over the years.

In my opinion, that’s some pretty serious stuff that equates to some pretty serious talent.

Of course we all know that Jackson wasn’t just famous for his robotic and moonwalking dance moves, unique voice talents or unmatched musical creativity; nope. Our interest in Jackson elevated with the first of probably the most nose jobs ever performed on a single person, not to mention the slow but sure change from black to white – and no I’m not talking about the song – of his skin color.

From there it was just a matter of rolling down a steep hill in a wheelbarrow that might as well have been full of those million plus records he sold, in solid gold.

Who could forget about Jackson vying to purchase the skeleton of one of the most disfigured men in history (certainly the most famous): The Elephant Man? And what about his fascination with exotic animals? His controversial marriage to Lisa Marie Presley? Or his sleepover with…Macaulay Culkin? Yeah. That last one pretty much sums it all up.

Everything changed for Jackson after a 13-year-old boy accused him of child molestation in 1993.

Despite the fact that the boy’s mother denied any wrongdoing on the part of Jackson, that several other people who had children spend time at his Neverland Ranch also denied the idea of Jackson as a pedophile, and that Jackson was never charged with the crime, the world’s opinion of him was forever changed.

Jackson’s health deteriorated substantially after that, even up to his death, not even 24 hours ago.

His story is one of many angles and theories, many trials and tribulations, many strange and common things. No matter what, however, Jackson will live on in the hearts and memories of all who have heard his name. He truly was, a king.