Vol 9 - No. 1




Tributes Abound As King Of Pop Dies


LOS ANGELES  - An unusual array of people are paying tributes to Michael Jackson, who died at the age of 50 on June 25. They range from Lisa-Marie Presley to Bollywood giant Amitabh Bachchan and from self-help guru Deepak Chopra to Hindu nationalist Bal Thackeray.

Michael suffered what is believed to have been a cardiac arrest at his home. Rumours abound about the cause of his death, many seem to be linked to the use of pain killers. Life & Style reports that Michael Jackson was taking a cocktail of up to seven prescription drugs in the months before his death.

The family attorney, Brian Oxman, has claimed "This was something that was not unexpected... because of the medications Michael Jackson was under." 

As far back as 2006, members of Michael's family were terrified that his escalating dependence on prescription drugs had become a danger to his life -- and attempted vainly an intervention in Las Vegas. At the time of the Vegas intervention, a source close to the family blamed a Jackson aide for supplying the superstar with drugs from prescriptions acquired from multiple doctors.

In view of this, LISA-MARIE PRESLEY writes in her blog, that it was "a predicted ending by him, by loved ones and by me...I wanted to 'save him'. I wanted to save him from the inevitable which is what has just happened... His family and his loved ones also wanted to save him from this as well but didn’t know how and this was 14 years ago. We all worried that this would be the outcome then.

Jackson's wife of 20 months adds: "Our relationship was not 'a sham' as is being reported in the press. It was an unusual relationship yes, where two unusual people who did not live or know a 'normal life' found a connection, perhaps with some suspect timing on his part. Nonetheless, I do believe he loved me as much as he could love anyone and I loved him very much."

ROLF SCHMIDT-HOLTZ, CEO, SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT, said: "Michael Jackson's unsurpassed artistry and beloved music brought joy to every corner of the world. We join today with his millions of fans in expressing our profound sadness and we offer our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones. It was a true privilege for all of us in the Sony Music family to work with one of the most talented superstars in the history of music. We will miss him greatly."

RICHARD WILLIAMS WROTE IN THE GUARDIAN: "Michael Jackson may have spent his last years mutating into an ever more freakish version of himself, eventually becoming a prize exhibit in the celebrity zoo, but under the outlandish surface was a singer who had come by his fame not via mere eccentricity or a stroke of luck, but through a genuinely remarkable talent that deserved to conquer the world.

"For all his tragic flaws as a human being, Jackson could legitimately be seen as the greatest entertainer of his generation, the natural successor to Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.

"Soul music was the idiom from which he emerged, and disco was the vehicle that powered his solo career, but he was more than that suggests. The slender young man in spats who danced to the whip-smart rhythms of Billie Jean and Beat It, and crooned tear-stained ballads such as She’s Out Of My Life, seemed to span the modern equivalents of many timeless idioms, from vaudeville to torch songs."

DEEPAK CHOPRA, author, alternative medicine practitioner, self-help guru and Sirius Radio Host, first met Michael in 1988, "beginning a 20+ year friendship that brought Jackson peace of mind and contentment, two things he always was sorely lacking".

In an interview to CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Chopra said, Michael wanted "to be understood, created joy for the world." Wolf asked if Michael was addicted to prescription drugs, Chopra said: "In my belief, and from what I know, he was... I think that drugs killed him."

"There are a plethora of doctors in Hollywood. They're drug peddlers, they're drug pushers, they just happen to have a medical license," Deepak Chopra said in an interview on CNN, adding: "I will be bold enough to identify these people at a certain time, but I think the police should do their own investigation."

Michael had left a voice message for Chopra just two days before his death.

In a tribute posted to internet site HuffingtonPost, Deepak Chopra wrote that "Michael exemplified the paradox of many famous performers, being essentially shy, an introvert... Michael's reluctance to grow up was another part of the paradox. My children adored him, and in return he responded in a childlike way. He declared often, as former child stars do, that he was robbed of his childhood. Considering the monstrously exaggerated value our society places on celebrity, which was showered on Michael without stint, the public was callous to his very real personal pain. It became another tawdry piece of the tabloid Jacko, pictured as a weird changeling and as something far more sinister", he added.

BOLLYWOOD GIANT AMITABH BACHCHAN writes in his blog: "An exceptional artist has gone. Someone that created an almost outer world experience for all of us with his art." He recalls, "It was around the mid 70’s that lightening struck and from it emerged this grown up version of Michael Jackson, singing, moving, dancing like he was from some other planet!"

Michael "came to perform in Mumbai at the Andheri Sports Complex, Prateeksha, where I live, shook the entire night with the vibrations of all his most popular numbers booming out from the venue," adds Amitabh.

83-YEAR OLD BAL THACKERAY, the founder and chief of the Shiv Sena, a Hindu nationalist, Marathi ethnocentric and populist party active mainly in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, recalled Michael’s dancing (at a sell-out concert in Mumbai in October 1996) and told AFP in a statement, "How many people can dance that way? You'd break your neck... He represents certain values in America that India should not have qualms in accepting."

The concert, as a part of Michael's HIStory World Tour, was at the invitation of Shiv Udyog Sena, an outfit floated by then Shiv Sena leader Raj Thackeray with the objective of providing jobs to 2.7 million youth in Maharashtra. As Raj Thackeray’s guest, Michael also visited Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s residence, Matoshree, in Bandra. The Thackerays presented him with famous Indian music instruments, a silver tabla and tanpura -- famous Indian music instruments.

PETER JACOB, COMMUNICATIONS HEAD FOR A HANDSET MANUFACTURER IN INDIA, reminiscences his excitement of being backstage, in close proximity to Michael during his concert, "His presence, his energy, his music was simply electrifying. I have been to many rock shows but Michael Jackson Concert will remain in mind as the best show ever! Like million others we will miss him and hope that every person on this planet remembers him for letting us know the meaning of entertainment."

Michael Jackson was undoubtedly one of the most widely beloved entertainers and a multi-faceted person: singer, songwriter, record producer, arranger, dancer, choreographer, actor, author, businessman, financier and a profoundly influential artist of all-time. He leaves an indelible imprint on popular music and culture.

Michael started in the music business at the age of 11 with his brothers as a member of the Jackson 5. In the early 1980s, he defined the art form of music video with such ground-breaking videos as ‘Billie Jean’,’Beat It’ and the epic ‘Thriller’. Jackson's sound, style and dance moves inspired subsequent generations of pop, soul, R&B and hip-hop artists.

Five of Jackson's solo albums -- ‘Off the Wall’, ‘Thriller’, ‘Bad’, ‘Dangerous’ and ‘HIStory’, all with Epic Records, a Sony Music label -- are among the top-sellers of all time. During his extraordinary career, he sold an estimated 750 million records worldwide, released 13 No.1 singles and became one of a handful of artists to be inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Guinness Book of World Records recognized Jackson as the Most Successful Entertainer of All Time and ‘Thriller’ as the Biggest Selling Album of All Time. Jackson won 13 Grammy Awards and received the American Music Award's Artist of the Century Award.

Michael's comeback was all set for his last live 10-concert series, 'The Final Curtain Call' on July 8 in London. Many of his fans in India and other countries were all geared up to fly to London for the performance.

He had three children, Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr., who he later dubbed Prince, 12, and Paris Michael Katherine Jackson, 11, from his marriage to ex-wife Debbie Rowe, and Michael Jackson II, known as ‘Blanket’, seven. Michael’s mother Katherine will be given custody of his three children, according to the family lawyer. - 26.06.09

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