Michael Jackson dead at 50

Michael JacksonSource: LA Times

Michael Jackson, an incomparable figure in music, dance and culture whose ever-changing face graced the covers of albums that sold more than half a billion copies, died Thursday, shortly after going into cardiac arrest at his rented Holmby Hills mansion. He was 50. He spent much of his life as one of the most famous people on the planet, and to many, his untimely death felt both unthinkable and, oddly, inevitable.

Paramedics found Jackson in cardiac arrest when they arrived at his home shortly before 12:30 p.m., three minutes and 17 seconds after receiving a 911 call. His personal physician was already in the house performing CPR. Jackson was not breathing, and it appears he never regained consciousness. Paramedics treated Jackson at the house for 42 minutes, and he was declared dead at 2:26 p.m. at UCLA Medical Center, about two miles from his home above Sunset Boulevard.

“I got to kiss him and tell him goodbye,” said Frank DiLeo, Jackson’s manager and friend of 30 years, who was at the hospital. “I lost a very dear friend, someone who I admired, someone who was the greatest talent I ever met or worked with.”

Los Angeles police said detectives would launch a thorough investigation of the death. They cautioned, however, that they did not believe Jackson was the victim of foul play and that the investigation was standard after the death of a person with his level of fame. Authorities said they would examine whether Jackson had been taking medications that contributed to his death; an autopsy is expected to be performed today.

Jackson’s death was confirmed outside the hospital by his brother Jermaine, who once performed alongside Michael as a member of the Jackson 5, a family act that began in the steel mill town of Gary, Ind., before making it big in the music industry.