Before his death at age 50, Michael Jackson was one of the most accomplished musicians in history.
Jackson, the seventh child in the famous Jackson family, first rose to fame at the age of 11 as a member of The Jackson 5, with hits like "I Want You Back," "ABC," "The Love You Save" and "I'll Be There." The pop star went solo in 1971 and released some of the best-selling albums of all time, including 1979's "Off The Wall," 1982's "Thriller" and 1987's "Bad."
Jackson's "Thriller" holds the title of the best-selling album of all time and was the first album to spawn seven Billboard Hot 100 top 10 singles, including the title track, "Billie Jean," "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'," and "Beat It."
Jackson, who was often referred to as the "King of Pop," redefined the art of music videos with groundbreaking offerings like "Beat It," "Billie Jean," and "Thriller," which became staples on MTV during the 1980s.
Jackson was also known for this amazing live performances and massively successful world tours, where fans could see his signature moonwalk live.
Some more newsworthy moments in Jackson's life included:
- On January 27, 1984, Jackson suffered second-degree burns to his scalp while filming a Pepsi commercial in LA when pyrotechnics for commercial set his hair on fire.
- In 1985, Jackson co-wrote "We Are The World" with Lionel Richie and recorded the single with a slew of popular singers and recording artists, under the name USA for Africa, which became one the best-selling singles of all time with 20 millions copies sold and raised millions of dollars to help fight famine in Africa.
- In the 1990s, Jackson was accused of sexual abuse by a 13-year-old boy and investigated by police. On January 1, 1994, Jackson settled out of court with the boy's family for $22 million.
- In 1994, Jackson wed Lisa Marie Presley. They divorced less than two years later.
- Jackson married again in 1996 to his nurse Deborah Rowe. They had a son together, Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr., also known as "Prince," and a daughter, Paris Michael Katherine Jackson. The couple divorced in 1999.
- Jackson had a third child in 2002, Prince Michael Jackson II, also known as "Blanket," with an undisclosed surrogate. Jackson made headlines in November of 2002, when he dangled "Blanket" out of a window of a hotel room in Berlin.
During recent years, Jackson was forced to give up the title of his Neverland Ranch to the Sycamore Valley Ranch Co. LLC. He had gone into default on the $24.5 million he owed on the property.
The star had been slated to headline 50 sold-out shows at London's O2 Arena beginning in July 2009, billed "This Is It" – his final London performances, which were being billed as the singer's comeback.
In March, AEG president and CEO Tim Leiweke, told Billboard that Michael was "very healthy. Despite everything you read about him, he was fine. The man took a physical for us to go do these concerts."
In addition to his three children, Jackson is survived by siblings Rebbie, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, La Toya, Marlon, Randy and Janet – along with his parents Joseph Walter "Joe" and Katherine Esther.
During his decades spanning career, Jackson was honored with 13 Grammys, 13 number one singles and sold more than 750 million albums. He is also one of the few artists to have been honored with a double induction into the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame.
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