Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009

The Death of Michael Jackson

Like the passing of Princess Diana or John F. Kennedy Jr., his was an epoch-defining death, an event that announced itself in ways both large (Google News buckled under the volume of searches) and small (in New York City, bodega owners looped Thriller all weekend in tribute). On June 25, a caller summoned an ambulance to Jackson's Los Angeles mansion; the star wasn't breathing. The King of Pop was rushed to a Westwood hospital, where he was pronounced dead of cardiac arrest, the victim of a lethal cocktail of prescription pills. (In August, his death was ruled a homicide by a Los Angeles County coroner; no charges are pending.) For days, the world kept vigil, and for months after that, battles were waged over everything from Jackson's place of burial to the custody of his children. Through a summer of tributes and an autumn of fresh keepsakes, the applause did not subside. This Is It, a film documenting Jackson's rehearsals for his planned string of 50 London concerts, earned glowing reviews. In November, the sale of more than 80 of his prized possessions hauled in $2 million at auction.