Music Memorials | 6:38 p.m. Expect a number of Jackson music marathons in the days to come. According to our colleague Stuart Elliott: WCBS-FM, the oldies station in New York, is broadcasting some of Mr. Jackson’s greatest hits. The station said it would have special programming later in the day.
Mr. Jackson was one of the icons of MTV’s early days in the 1980’s. Our colleague Steve Reddicliffe says that the music channel is now playing the music videos for “Beat It” and “Thriller,” accompanied by a “breaking news” graphic on the screen about the singer’s death.
Update | 6:37 p.m. The Associated Press is reporting that Mr. Jackson is dead.
Reaction | 6:37 p.m. Television news images showed large crowds gathering outside the UCLA Medical Center. “People are already showing up in costume, believe it or not,” said a Fox News correspondent, Trace Gallagher, comparing it to the circus he witnessed during a trial involving Mr. Jackson.
More Reports | 6:29 p.m. “A lot will be said about Michael Jackson as we learn more about this story,” Brian Williams said on the “NBC Nightly News.”
“He was incredibly talented, a child star who was an adult with deep troubles and physical and mental health issues.”
The reports of Mr. Jackson’s death ricocheted around the world with remarkable speed. The news led Friday morning newscasts in Japan.
CBS and ABC are also reporting the news, standing on their own reporting now.
L.A. Times Reports Jackson Is Dead | 6:24 p.m. The newspaper cited “city and law enforcement sources.” The networks and CNN are also broadcasting the news, citing the Times story.
Reports: Jackson in a Coma | 6:15 p.m. Several news organizations including the Los Angeles Times reported that Mr. Jackson “is in a coma.” The newspaper attributed the news to one law enforcement source. CNN is also citing “multiple sources” as saying that Mr. Jackson is in a coma.
Update | 6:11 p.m. LOS ANGELES – An unconscious Michael Jackson was rushed to UCLA Medical Center on Thursday afternoon by paramedics who performed C.P.R., according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.
Early reports indicated cardiac arrest, but a hospital spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment. Mr. Jackson, 50, has been renting a mansion in the Bel Air neighborhood, a short distance from the hospital, and rehearsing for a series of 50 sold-out shows in London.
Joe Jackson told to E! News, an entertainment Web site and cable channel, that the singer’s family was scrambling to determine his condition. “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,” Mr. Jackson told E! News. “His mother is on her way to the hospital now to check in on him.”
Mr. Jackson is scheduled to perform in a series of concerts in at the O2 arena London, beginning next month and continuing into 2010. The shows have been widely seen in the music industry as an important possible comeback for him, with the potential to earn him up to $50 million, according to some reports. But there has also been worry and speculation that Mr. Jackson, who is 50, was not physically ready for such an arduous run of concerts, and Mr. Jackson’s postponement of the first of those shows from July 8 to July 12 fueled new rounds of gossip about his health.
Even though Mr. Jackson has sold millions of albums around the world — “Thriller,” from 1982, has been certified 28 times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America — his eccentric lifestyle took a severe financial toll. In 1987 Mr. Jackson paid about $17 million for a 2,600-acre ranch in Los Olivos, Calif., 125 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Calling it Neverland, he outfitted the property with amusement-park rides, a zoo and a 50-seat theater, at a cost of $35 million, according to reports, and the ranch became his sanctum.
But Neverland, and Mr. Jackson’s lifestyle, were expensive to maintain. A forensic accountant who testified at Mr. Jackson’s molestation trial in 2005 said that Mr. Jackson’s annual budget in 1999 included $7.5 million for personal expenses and $5 million to maintain Neverland. By at least the late 1990s, he began to take out huge loans to support himself and pay debts. In 1998 he took out a loan for $140 million from Bank of America, which two years later was upped to $200 million. Further loans of hundreds of millions followed.
The collateral for the loans was Mr. Jackson’s 50 percent share in Sony/ATV Music Publishing, a portfolio of thousands of songs, including more than 100 by the Beatles that are considered some of the most valuable properties in music. In 1985 Mr. Jackson paid $47.5 million for ATV, which included the Beatles songs — a move that estranged him from Paul McCartney — and 10 years later Mr. Jackson sold 50 percent of his interest to Sony for $90 million, creating a joint venture, Sony/ATV. Estimates of the value of the catalog exceed $1 billion.
A member of the pop group The Jackson 5 as a child, Mr. Jackson was a pint-size musical dynamo. He under the aegis of Joe Jackson, spent years in talent shows and performing in seedy Midwestern clubs his dictatorial and ambitious father. Joe Jackson and Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown Records, were the singer’s twin mentors during his early career.
Mr. Jackson eventually broke with his father and the Jackson 5, a move toward creative and financial independence marked by his collaborations with Quincy Jones on a trio of albums. The most memorable of those is 1982’s “Thriller,” which eventually racked up sales of 51 million copies globally, according to the Guinness World Records, making it the best-selling album in history.
A spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department told CNN that rescuers were called to Mr. Jackson’s home at 12:21 p.m. Pacific. “When paramedics went on the scene, they treated the patient, then they immediately transported the patient to UCLA,” the spokesman told CNN. Mr. Jackson’s home is located only a few minutes from the hospital center.
Cable news channels almost immediately started showing paparazzi shots from TMZ, X17Online.com and Hollywood.TV of Mr. Jackson’s entourage arriving at the hospital. By mid-afternoon, television news helicopters were hovering above the medical center.
Entertainment news Web sites including EOnline.com and PerezHilton.com appeared to be loading more slowly than usual, or not loading at all, an indication of the intense interest in Mr. Jackson’s hospitalization.
Farrah Fawcett, an actress, television star and pop-culture phenomenon whose good looks and signature leonine hairstyle influenced a generation of women and, beginning with a celebrated pinup poster, bewitched a generation of men, died on Thursday in Santa Monica, California, according to Paul Bloch, her spokesman. She was 62 and had been battling cancer since late 2006.
To an extraordinary degree, that fight was played out in public, generating enormous interest worldwide. Her face, often showing the ravages of her illness, became a tabloid fixture, and updates on her health became staples of television entertainment news.
In May, her cancer battle was chronicled in an NBC primetime documentary, “Farrah’s Story,” some of it shot on home video. An estimated 9 million people viewed it. Ms. Fawcett had initiated the project with a friend and producer, Alana Stewart, after she first learned of her cancer.