Pop star Michael Jackson dies at 50

Ganda Bacha | 11:17:00 AM | 0 comments

Updated at: 0350 PST, Friday, June 26, 2009

LOS ANGELES: Pop giant Michael Jackson, who took to the stage as a child star and set the world dancing to the thumping rhythms of his music in the 1970s, died on Thursday, online website reported. He was 50.

The website reported that Jackson suffered a heart attack just after 12:00 pm (1900 GMT) local time and paramedics were unable to revive him.

Jackson's manager Tohme E. Tohme was not immediately available for comment when contacted by media. Officials at UCLA Medical Center where Jackson was treated also could not be reached for comment.

Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Devin Gales would not confirm Jackson's identity but said paramedics went to an address corresponding to the star's home at 12:21 pm (1921 GMT) and the person was taken to UCLA Medical Center.

An unidentified family member earlier told TMZ -- the first outlet to report that Jackson had suffered a cardiac arrest -- that the star was in "really bad shape."

Michael's father Joe Jackson told E! Online he was aware of the emergency but did not know further details.

"I am in Las Vegas, but yes, people in Los Angeles called me and are with Michael and tell me he was taken to the hospital," he said. "I am not sure what's wrong. I am waiting to hear back from them."

The reports came as Jackson prepared to make a keenly anticipated concert comeback in London, his first series of shows in more than a decade and the first since his 2005 acquittal on child molestation charges.

However those concerts -- billed as the "final curtain" -- had been thrown into doubt after Jackson pushed back the opening dates last month.

Organizers of the concerts had stressed the delay was not linked to Jackson's health.

Promoters and producers AEG Live said the rescheduling was done because of the "sheer magnitude" of the show and the desire for fans attending the opening nights to get the same experience planned for all 50 shows.

In a press conference from the United States broadcast over the Internet, AEG Live president Randy Phillips was asked about Jackson's health and said: "I would trade my body for his tomorrow. He's in fantastic shape."

While Jackson reigned as the "King of Pop" in the 1980s, his once-stellar career had been overshadowed by his colorful public behavior, his startling physical transformation and multiple allegations of child abuse.

Jackson lived as a virtual recluse following his 2005 acquittal on charges including child molestation and plotting to kidnap his young accuser.

Despite his acquittal, the trial was a body blow from which the pop music superstar struggled to recover.

Four years later, Jackson is still worshipped by fans for revolutionizing music, dance and music videos at the peak of his success.

The attention however paid to him in recent years has been less flattering, focusing on apparent cosmetic surgery -- which he denies -- his baby dangling antics and a decade of swirling child abuse allegations.

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