Page last updated at 11:07 GMT, Friday, 26 June 2009 12:07 UK

Fans in shock at Jackson's death

Fans of Michael Jackson around the world react to the news of his death

Hundreds of people rushed to UCLA Medical Centre in Los Angeles as reports began emerging of the death of singing legend Michael Jackson.

Fans of all ages gathered at the hospital to show their support and await news of the 50-year-old entertainer.

Television vans converged on the centre, while news helicopters circled above. Police officers arrived to keep the growing crowds back.

Some of the fans were silent, while others climbed on fences to try to get a better view.

As Jackson's death was confirmed, many broke down in tears and embraced each other.

"I hope he's gone to God, and I hope that he's free of all the troubles he's been plagued with," fan Tonya Blazer, 50, told Reuters news agency.

"I grew up with his music. I used to wear Michael Jackson T-shirts every day to school," another unidentified fan told US broadcaster CBS.

Fan cries outside UCLA medical centre
Many fans were in tears as reports of the singer's death emerged

"At my work I was the Michael Jackson freak! I loved him so much. I don't know what to say. I'm just really sad. I think I'm going to start crying."

Groups also gathered outside Jackson's home near Bel Air, from where he was rushed to hospital around midday local time on Thursday.

Melanie Bromley, west coast bureau chief of Us Weekly magazine, spoke of "pandemonium" in the city.

"There is complete disbelief and confusion at the moment. His death came from nowhere," she said.

'Always remember'

In New York, passers-by learnt the news when it was flashed up on a big screen in Times Square.

Some expressed sorrow and shock, while others took out their phones to call friends.

All I can say is that his music brings back fond memories. Back then we didn't have any music or dancing similar to Michael Jackson's
Dong Qianxi, Beijing

"I don't know what to say. It's sad, it's really, really sad," said 18-year-old Nicole Smith. "My mother was a fan. I listened to his music."

New Yorker Michael Harris received the news by text message.

"It's like when Kennedy was assassinated," he told the Associated Press news agency. "I will always remember being in Times Square when Michael Jackson died."

At Jackson's childhood home in Gary, Indiana, mourners left flowers and small gifts on the porch.

Mayor Rudy Clay described him as the "world's greatest entertainer".

"Our hearts are heavy, heavy here," he said.

'Amazing music'

As Friday dawned, fans across the Asia-Pacific region awoke to the reports of the singer's death.

In Japan and Australia, broadcasters interrupted scheduled programming to report the news.

"He was an idol of many people, then he suddenly died! My heart is breaking," Reuters news agency quoted one South Korean fan as saying.

In Beijing, 26-year-old broadcaster Dong Qianxi, said he listened to Michael Jackson as a child.

Drawing at the Lyric theatre, London, 26 June 2009
Fans around the world expressed sadness at Jackson's death

"All I can say is that his music brings back fond memories. Back then we didn't have any music or dancing similar to Michael Jackson's," he said.

"He is by far the most well-known foreign artist in China today."

Reactions of shock and disbelief were repeated across other regions.

In Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos, a Radio Continental presenter began sobbing on air and her co-presenter had to take over.

Mehdi Fershiou in Paris said he had tickets to see a comeback concert planned in London this summer.

"It's a bit strange, it makes me think about what my parents experienced with Elvis, or with the Beatles when John Lennon died," he said.

"He is the first big artist of my generation to die."


In the UK, thousands of fans heard the news late on Thursday at the Glastonbury music festival in Somerset.

Some stalls played Jackson's hits as the news spread through the crowds by mobile phone and word of mouth.

Everyone engaged with his brilliant songs, which, coupled with incredible superhuman dancing, made him such a great performer
Katie Dailey, Glastonbury, UK

"I'm devastated because I grew up with him," said Ellen Hartley, 23, from Nottingham, who said her parents introduced her to Jackson's music.

"There might be a lot of bad press about him, but in the end I view him as having amazing music," she said.

Katie Dailey, 27, from London, was also among those looking forward to seeing him back on stage at the O2 Arena next month.

"Everyone engaged with his brilliant songs, which, coupled with incredible superhuman dancing, made him such a great performer.

"That made it more sad when he lost his abilities. Everyone desperately hoped that during that series of concerts he'd get them back."

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