He was a world-renowned superstar, but there are parts of his life that hardly merit words of tribute from an American President.
In 2005, Jackson was put on trial on charges he molested a 13-year old boy. He was acquitted.
But there were other allegations of improper conduct and strange behavior by the so-called King of Pop.
In 1977, then-President Jimmy Carter faced a similar dilemma after the death of Elvis Presley. The White House switchboard was reported to have been inundated with phone calls urging Mr. Carter to declare a national day of mourning for Presley.
The president eventually issued a carefully-written statement, declaring that Presley was 'unique and irreplaceable' and his music 'permanently changed the face of American popular culture.'
Mr. Obama may take a page from Jimmy Carter's playbook in responding to Michael Jackson's death.