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Fans Worldwide Pay Tribute to Late `King of Pop`

Posted June. 29, 2009 09:29,   


The night before his sudden death Thursday, pop music icon Michael Jackson, 50, worked into the wee hours of the morning rehearsing for his upcoming concerts in London slated for next month.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times Saturday, Kenny Ortega, who was supervising what turned out to be Jackson’s final rehearsal for his concerts, said, “He was beaming with gladness on stage. He was full of energy and happiness.”

Fans around the world regardless of race and location have paid tribute to the late “King of Pop.” U.S. President Barack Obama called Jackson a “musical icon,” according to White House spokesman Robert Gibbs Friday.

Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the second son of the king of Bahrain, said in a statement in the Gulf Daily News Saturday, “The world has lost a giant in the music industry.” When Jackson sought refuge in Bahrain for a year back in 2005, the sheik offered generous financial support.

In Lebanon, around 100 young fans held a candlelight vigil on the street, singing and dancing to his songs. In the Philippines, inmates at a maximum security prison in Cebu recreated Jackson’s “Thriller” video and uploaded it on YouTube. The video has become a Web sensation, garnering more than 23 million hits.

Jackson’s untimely death has also spawned a boom in sales of his records and memorabilia. Twenty-one items once owned by Jackson, including a Swarovski crystal-beaded shirt he wore in his 1984 Victory Tour concert, were sold at an auction Friday at Planet Hollywood Hotel in Las Vegas. The items fetched a combined 205,000 U.S. dollars, 33 times the expected price of 6,000 dollars.

Jackson’s albums have also topped the sales lists of major online and offline record stores, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes. Tens of thousands of his fans have visited the Grammy Museum and the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, which has a bronze imprint of his hands.

Despite being a pop music superstar, Jackson is known to have spent his last years in solitude struggling to deal with scandals. His biographer Ian Halperin in an article for the U.K. Daily Mail said Saturday, “Jackson recently told his close aide, ‘I lost my ability to sing and dance. I want to die. Nothing is going right and I feel like I might die before the London concert.’”

Jackson’s first wife Lisa Marie Presley, whose father Elvis Presley also met an untimely death in 1977, said Friday that Jackson was afraid that he would suffer a similar fate as her father, who died of a drug overdose.