A closer look at the eccentric life and roller-coaster career of the 50-year-old pop icon, from his childhood onstage through his planned London comeback.
A Pop-Music Icon
The sensationally gifted "King of Pop," who emerged from childhood superstardom to become the entertainment world's most influential singer and dancer before his life and career deteriorated in a freakish series of scandals, died June 25, 2009, at a Los Angeles hospital.
Michael Jackson's story didn't end with his death - it has just moved into a second act every bit as controversial, peculiar and fascinating as the first. Part mystery - how did the self-proclaimed "King of Pop" die? How much was he worth? And part soap opera - what will happen to his fortune and his three young children? "48 Hours" explores the pop star's life and legacy.
His death brought a tragic end to a long, bizarre, sometimes farcical decline from his peak in the 1980s, when he was popular music's premier all-around performer, a uniter of black and white music who shattered the race barrier on MTV, dominated the charts and dazzled even more on stage.
Over Michael Jackson's chart-topping music career, his health has commanded as much publicity as his hit songs. That remained true even in death as reports surfaced of drug abuse and chronic sleeplessness.
Born into a large, singing family in 1958, Michael Jackson made his stage debut when he was 11 as part of the Jackson Five singing group. A tabloid fixture for his eccentric lifestyle, he went on to a successful solo career.
Michael was the seventh of nine children of Joseph and Katherine Jackson, and all of his siblings grew up to be musicians, though none as famous as the moonwalking King of Pop. A 10th child died at birth.
Michael Jackson's death is as tangled and confusing as his life, raising questions of drug abuse, child custody, the future of Neverland, the value and disposition of his assets and his enduring legacy.