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Rock Hall Anniversary: Death of Michael Jackson

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Many of us probably know where we were on June 25th, 2009, when it was announced that Michael Jackson had died at the age of 50. It had seemed the world had stopped, as fans were overcome with shock, then grief, and on that day and so on, news channels and TV specials flooded the airwaves.

At that time, Jackson was rehearsing for his This Is It tour, as it would be relevant in the movie of the same name, he seemed to be in great spirits and things were going well. But the next morning, things started turning for the worse, when Jackson was found unresponsive by his personal physician Dr. Conrad Murray. Paramedics were called, and after 42 minutes of performing CPR, Jackson was taken to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where a team of medical personnel attempted to resuscitate him, to no avail. Jackson was pronounced dead at 2:26 p.m.

Initially, Jackson’s cause of death was ruled as cardiac arrest. But after the coroner stated that a combination of drugs was found in the singer’s system, the cause was then ruled as an accidental overdose, then homicide when it was revealed the most significant agent was the anesthetic propofol (used only in hospitals, and never intended for home care). In 2011, Conrad Murray was charged with involuntary manslaughter, and after a nearly two-month trail, he was convicted and was sentenced to four years in prison.

News of Jackson’s death have been compared to those of other music legends including Elvis Presley and John Lennon, due to the overwhelming amount of grief. Places including the Neverland Ranch, the Jackson home in Gary, Indiana, as well as the Hollywood Walk of Fame stars of both Jackson and his brothers quickly became makeshift memorials.

But most of all, tributes from other musicians including Madonna, Beyoncé, Metallica, and sister Janet poured in, and sales from his albums (and the Jacksons) increased, summing up the majority of record sales throughout 2009. And Jackson’s legacy continues to be celebrated to this day, especially this year with the recent success of his posthumous album Xscape, and Rolling Stone’s special edition of Jackson’s 50 greatest songs.

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