Page last updated at 23:46 GMT, Friday, 26 June 2009 00:46 UK

World reacts to Jackson death

BBC correspondents report on reaction from cities around the world

With the death of pop star Michael Jackson at the age of 50, BBC correspondents report on the reaction around the world.


Throughout the day camera crews and media from around the world staked out the coroner's office which sits at a busy junction across from a gas station and a fast food restaurant.

Rumours that Jackson family members would come to the coroners office kept reporters on alert but were soon dispelled early in the day. Captain Paul Villaneuva of the LAPD revealed instead that the coroner had visited the Jackson family " at an undisclosed location"

Cars driving by tooted their horns and shouted cries of support for the family. "Michael lives on," hollered one drive-by fan.

"I've never seen anything like this," said Michelle Rindels from Associated Press.

"It's really crazy. It's been a complete circus since early this morning."

Dedrich McClure of TV News Guide who has covered Michael Jackson for several years said: "This is a big story. It's the equivalent of Elvis dying, the Beatles breaking up and when Tupac died.

"The king of Pop was one of the last true icons. Who else is there to cry over?"

The coroner's office might not seem like an obvious place for fans to flock to but it made perfect sense for Maria Cervantes.

"We wanted to show our respects to the family. I know how hard it is for the family and what they are going through

"My kids loved his music and dancing. He was a hero to them and he will live on."

Her 13-year old nephew Cristin Pineda told BBC News: "I was a big fan and when I heard he had died I thought it was a tragedy.

"I wanted to come here to say goodbye."

Nkem Ifejika

Above the entrance of the Apollo Theater in Harlem the neon sign reads: "In Memory of Michael Jackson, a true Apollo Legend, 1958 - 2009."

At least 2,000 people have gathered outside spontaneously, blocking the pavement in front and opposite the famous venue. The overwhelming spirit in the crowd is of jubilation, dancing, singing, blaring out hit after Michael Jackson hit.

But there are sombre pockets of people carrying lit candles. One mourner fighting back the tears, and failing, says: "I just wish he could come back."

This is Harlem, after all, often described as the heart of African-American culture. This was where, aged nine, Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 got their first real break, winning Amateur Night in 1969. He returned several times over the years to perform.

The crowd transcended national barriers. One Frenchwoman says: "I know back home in Paris, my grandparents will be upset."

A Hungarian reporter spoke about what Michael Jackson meant in the 1970s and 80s in Communist Eastern Europe: "It was part of our lives behind the Iron Curtain, a symbol of freedom for us, creativity, unlimited success."

Occasional chants of "Michael, Michael, Michael" would erupt, after which another loudspeaker would play another song, pulling the crowd with it. Some wannabe moonwalkers entertained onlookers, complete with Jackson's trademark white shirt, black trousers and hat from his Billie Jean days.

Steve Rosenberg

I'm standing in the waxwork museum Madame Tussauds in Berlin where the Michael Jackson waxwork has been moved into the foyer. There is a special book of condolences which visitors can sign after coming into the museum.

The waxwork museum is almost directly opposite the Adlon hotel. This is where Michael Jackson stayed in 2002 when he came to Berlin to pick up a music award.

And it's where he very controversially dangled his own baby out of a top floor window, showing off the child to fans down below.

At the time, German police considered launching an investigation into the affair. They never did and despite the incident Michael Jackson remains supremely popular in Germany.

Reacting to the news of Michael Jackson's death the German economy minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, said the pop star had been a truly great artist who met a tragic end.

Zubair Ahmed

Television networks in India abandoned normal programmes to run news of Michael Jackson's death.

Popular news websites and portals have wall-to-wall coverage of the pop star's death. Mourners have been posting condolence messages on their favourite websites.

The singer, who was a huge name in India, had come to Mumbai 13 years ago when he performed at a packed concert.

He was invited by a right-wing Hindu nationalist party and his visit had become controversial, with some questioning how his music was connected to Hindu culture.

Regardless of the controversy, a whole generation of Bollywood music directors have been influenced by his music.

Some have been accused of plagiarising his tunes. His dance sequences have also left a deep impression on Bollywood stars of the 70s and 80s.

Nick Bryant

On the east coast of Australia people awoke to the news that Michael Jackson had suffered a cardiac arrest, and heard that he'd died by the time they reached work.

The main television networks have been interrupting their schedules to carry special programmes, radio stations are playing some of his most popular hits, and fans are leaving tributes on web and social networking sites.

Walking through the streets of Sydney this morning, his signature song Thriller could be heard coming from passing cars.

People here are likening his death to the passing of other musical greats, such as Elvis Presley and John Lennon.

There's been a conflicted response. There's enormous respect here for his musical talent and his extraordinary stagecraft, but there's been criticism too at what many people clearly feel was a sometimes unhealthy relationship with young children.

Roland Buerk

Japanese television networks broke into normal breakfast programmes to carry coverage of Michael Jackson's death, and a text alert was sent early in the morning to people who subscribe to mobile phone news services.

The singer was a huge star in Japan - a country he visited often over the years. It was here in 2006 that he made his first official public appearance, at an awards ceremony, after being acquitted at his trial.

He came again a year later and a screaming mob of fans greeted him at the airport. There were more crowds outside a downtown electronics store where he went on a shopping spree.

And hundreds of people paid more than $3,000 for a ticket for what was known as a fan appreciation event.

It featured a buffet dinner, Michael Jackson impersonators, and a chance to be in the same room as the singer himself - but not to see him to perform.

Michael Jackson's popularity was perhaps knocked less here by the scandals that surrounded him later in life.

People in Japan seemed more willing to overlook his much-publicised troubles and see him just as a great performer, and that's how he'll be remembered.

Jonah Fisher

Michael Jackson first visited Africa at the age of 14, as the lead singer of the Jackson Five.

Emerging from the plane in Senegal, he responded to a welcome of drummers and dancers by screaming: ''This is where I come from''.

Returning for an African tour 19 years later, the king of pop was crowned chief of several African villages.

But the trip quickly turned into a public relations nightmare, amid allegations of police beating the crowds and complaints in the local media that the pop star had been seen holding his nose.

Michael Jackson's most tangible contribution to Africa came at the peak of his career in the mid-80s, when he co-wrote the charity song We Are The World with Lionel Ritchie.

Sung by a group of leading artists, the single topped charts around the world, raising awareness and more than $50m for famine relief in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa.

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2018 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific