Pop legend dies of suspected heart attack

Michael Jackson passed away on 25 June 2009 after suffering a suspected heart attack at his home in Beverly Hills.

The singer was on the verge of launching his comeback with a 50-date tour at London’s O2 arena in July, but he died 3 weeks before he was due on stage.

Michael first found fame as a child with his brothers in The Jackson 5 and quickly replaced Jermaine Jackson as the lead singer, securing a string of hits throughout the 70s.

His popularity continued to grow and he decided to launch his solo career in 1970, producing his first album Off The Wall, which sold over 20million copies worldwide. He went on to record 1982 sensation Thriller; still the biggest seller of all time.

Michael cemented his superstar status when he ‘moonwalked’ to Billie Jean in front of an audience of millions in 1983. His enjoyed further success with 1987 album Bad, 1991’s Dangerous and a 1995 follow-up HIStory.

Despite his global music career, the nation was shocked when Michael was accused of sexual abuse by 13-year-old Jordan Chandler in 1993. After a lengthy police investigation, Michael eventually settled the issue with the boy’s father out of court.

In the same year, Michael married Elvis Presley’s daughter Lisa Marie. The union only lasted 20 months before they filed for divorce. They remained on friendly terms.

A year later, Michael wed Debbie Rowe and the pair became parents to son Prince Michael and daughter Paris. They divorced in 1999 and Michael won custody of the kids.

In 2002, Michael was criticised for dangling his third son, Prince Michael II (known as Blanket), the result of artificial insemination of an unidentified surrogate, over a hotel balcony in Berlin. He later apologised, saying it was a ‘terrible mistake’.

More controversy surrounded Michael when 14-year-old Gavin Arvizo accused him of child abuse in 2005. Michael denied all seven charges and after a 2-year trial, he was found not guilty.

Just months after announcing the This Is It tour this summer in London, Michael suffered a suspected heart attack. Paramedics battled to save him but he was pronounced dead at 2.26pm.

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Alison Adey

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