World Reacts To Michael Jackson’s Death

The sudden death of Michael Jackson yesterday has elicited a global tidal wave of emotion from his fans – both famous and not.

As word of Jackson’s passing spread, fans took to the Internet for news and nearly brought it to a standstill, jamming Google, Twitter, Wikipedia and AOL’s instant messenger, as well as news and gossip sites including CNN, the Los Angeles Times, TMZ and Perez Hilton’s blog.

Photo: Associated Press
Fans share memories of The King of Pop outside New York City’s famed Apollo Theater.

A spokesman for Google told CNET, “Between approximately 2:40 p.m. PDT and 3:15 p.m. PDT today, some Google News users experienced difficulty accessing search results for queries related to Michael Jackson.”

TMZ, which broke the news of Jackson’s death suffered several outages, as did the site of the LA Times, the first news outlet to confirm the singer’s passing.

AOL issued a statement saying, “AIM was down for approximately 40 minutes this afternoon. Today was a seminal moment in Internet history. We’ve never seen anything like it in terms of scope or depth” and AOL consumer advisor Regina Lewis told CNN the day was likely to mark “a historic milestone in mobile Internet traffic.”

Twitter users jammed the service with both searches and tweets about Jackson’s passing, according to CNN, forcing the site to disable search results, saved searches and trend topics for a short period of time.

Photo: AP Photo
Traffic on Hollywood Boulevard is reduced to one lane to accommodate the thousands of fans flocking to Jackson’s Walk of Fame star near Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles.

Within hours of Jackson’s death, fans mistakenly began to gather on Hollywood Boulevard at the star of L.A. radio personality Michael Jackson. The singer’s actual star is located near Grauman’s Chinese Theater and until late last night was covered by red carpet and scaffolding in place for the premier of Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Brüno.”

Speaking of “Bruno,” Baron Cohen proved that there are lines he won’t cross, when he and producers of the film decided to cut a scene where LaToya Jackson is interviewed by Brüno and pestered about her brother Michael.

Once the singer’s real star was uncovered, a makeshift shrine began rising around it, with the Los Angeles Times reporting that around 9 a.m. this morning “a representative of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce appeared and wordlessly placed a large flower arrangement on Michael Jackson’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was made of white roses and purple baby’s breath and tied with a huge black bow.”

Photo: AP Photo
A shrine forms outside the childhood home of Michael Jackson in Gary, Ind.

Across the country spontaneous memorials cropped up outside UCLA Medical Center where Jackson died; the three-story, French Chateau-style Holmby Hills home he was living in and at places associated with the singer and his career, including his Neverland Ranch, his childhood home in Gary, Ind., his parent’s home in Encino, Calif., and the Apollo Theater in New York City.

While fans mourned Jackson’s passing, shared stories about how he affected their lives, listened to his music and, in some cases, danced, radio stations from coast to coast pre-empted their regular programming and played music from his 38-year career.

Photo: AP Photo
Fans gathered in London’s Trafalger Square watch as  the King of Pop’s life is celebrated in dance.

MTV began airing Jackson’s videos, cable news outlets including CNN and MSNBC either bumped their regular programming or turned shows like “Larry King Live” and “Anderson Cooper 360” into a hybrid of tributes and continuous coverage of the developing story and all three major networks devoted sizeable chunks of primetime to honoring the singer.

As is often the case with the passing of any musician or singer, fans rushed to buy music by the King of Pop.

CNN reports that less than 24 hours after his death, seven out of the top 10 albums on iTunes were Jackson hits – including “Off the Wall,” “Thriller” and “Bad” – and at mega online retailer Amazon five of the top 10 mp3 albums and the five top-selling DVDs also belonged to the singer.

Photo: AP Photo
A fan browses for Michael Jackson records at a store in Berkeley, Calif. Demand for the singer’s music has skyrocketed in the last 24 hours.

Tributes have been pouring in from people in all walks of life from all corners of the globe, beginning with a flurry of tweets from celebrities on Twitter yesterday afternoon.

Miley Cyrus: “Michael Jackson was my inspiration. love and blessings

Ludacris: “If it were not for Michael Jackson I would not be where or who I am today. His Music and Legacy will live on forever. Prayers to the fam R.I.P.”

MC Hammer: “I have no words.. I loved Michael Jackson.. RIP..”

John Mayer: “I think we’ll mourn his loss as well as the loss of ourselves as children listening to Thriller on the record player. Dazed in the studio. A major strand of our cultural DNA has left us. RIP MJ.

?uestlove: “i am devastated over this but we all have memories. i just hope that he will get due justice in all the press memorials and whatnot. i know he was mired in controversy the last decade of his life but i think its time we let him rest in peace and learn to separate the ART and the ARTIST. –that is the MJ i will forever remember.”

Photo: AP Photo
A busload of tourists gets off a Starline bus outside the three-story, French chateau-style home Jackson was renting in Los Angeles.

Elton John, who was in the middle of hosting his annual White Tie and Tiara ball at his home in Berkshire, England, dedicated the song “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” to Jackson after the news reached him, Elizabeth Taylor’s publicist issued a statement saying the actress was too overcome to comment, and friends, celebrities, politicians and those who worked with the singer expressed their shock and grief at his sudden passing.

Madonna: “I can’t stop crying over the sad news… I have always admired Michael Jackson.. The world has lost one of the greats, but his music will live on forever!.. My heart goes out to his 3 children and other members of his family … God Bless.”

Dick Clark: “I knew Michael as a child and watched him grow over the years. Of all the thousands of entertainers I have worked with, Michael was THE most outstanding. Many have tried and will try to copy him, but his talent will never be matched. He was truly one-of-a-kind.”

Whitney Houston: “I am full of grief.”

Beyoncé: “This is such a tragic and a terrible day. The incomparable Michael Jackson has made a bigger impact on music than any other artist in the history of music. He was magic. He was what we all strive to be. He will always be the king of pop! Life is not about how many breaths you take, but about how many moments in life that take your breath away. For anyone who has ever seen, felt, or heard his art, we are all honored to have been alive in this generation to experience the magic of Michael Jackson. I love you Michael.”

Photo: AP Photo
Serjio Castro, 9, left, of Los Angeles, and his brother Julian Castro, 6, show their support for late pop star outside the Jackson family home in the Encino neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Jonelle Procope (President & CEO of The Apollo Theater Foundation): “The entire Apollo family is saddened to learn of Michael Jackson’s untimely passing. Michael first performed at the Apollo in 1969 with his brothers when he was only nine years old, winning Amateur Night, and catapulting their career as the Jackson 5. We will always remember Michael in our hearts as a true Apollo legend, known for his professionalism and grace. Our sympathy goes out to his entire family. He will be deeply missed.”

Sheryl Crow: “I am deeply saddened to hear of Michael’s sudden passing. His was a rare talent that we witness once in a lifetime. One who makes such an indelible mark that for generations singers and dancers attribute him as inspiration. I had the great privilege of watching him every night doing what he did best…entertain. I am grateful to have known him for the two years I worked for him and will mourn his loss with his many millions of fans across the world.

Paul McCartney: “It’s so sad and shocking. I feel privileged to have hung out and worked with Michael. He was a massively talented boy-man with a gentle soul. His music will be remembered forever and my memories of our time together will be happy ones.”

Liza Minnelli: “I will miss him until the day I go. He changed history. He changed musical history and he changed performing. Imagine you grow up in public. From the time he could walk, they put him on the stage. He had no childhood, none.”

Quincy Jones: “I am absolutely devastated at this tragic and unexpected news. For Michael to be taken away from us so suddenly at such a young age, I just don’t have the words … He was the consummate entertainer and his contributions and legacy will be felt upon the world forever. I’ve lost my little brother today, and part of my soul has gone with him.”

Photo: AP Photo
A flower and a white sequined glove bearing a message of love adorn the gates of Jackson’s former residence, Neverland Ranch, in Los Olivos, Calif.

But perhaps the most touching tribute of all has come from Jackson’s one-time wife, Lisa Marie Presley, who began a blog on her MySpace page with the stunning two-word statement, “He knew.”

“Years ago Michael and I were having a deep conversation about life in general.

“I can’t recall the exact subject matter but he may have been questioning me about the circumstances of my Fathers Death.

“At some point he paused, he stared at me very intensely and he stated with an almost calm certainty, ‘I am afraid that I am going to end up like him, the way he did.’

“14 years later I am sitting here watching on the news [as] an ambulance leaves the driveway of his home, the big gates, the crowds outside the gates, the coverage, the crowds outside the hospital, the cause of death and what may have lead up to it and the memory of this conversation hit me, as did the unstoppable tears.

“A predicted ending by him, his loved ones and by me, but what I didn’t predict was how much it was going to hurt when it finally happened.”

Photo: AP Photo
Fans mourn Jackson’s sudden death at a candlelight vigil in Paris.

Presley goes on to insist the marriage between herself and Jackson was “not a sham” and laments the choice she had to make when she walked away from the marriage and not being able to “save him from the inevitable.”

“As I sit here overwhelmed with sadness, reflection and confusion at what was my biggest failure to date, watching on the news almost play by play the exact scenario I saw happen on August 16th, 1977 happening again right now with Michael (A sight I never wanted to see again) just as he predicted, I am truly, truly gutted.”

It’s safe to say millions of people feel Presley’s pain.

Photo: AP Photo
People as far away as Beijing, China, took to the streets to celebrate the life of one of the 20th century’s greatest entertainers.

Read the “Access Hollywood” coverage of celebrities reactions to Michael Jackson’s death here and the Associated Press coverage here.

Read Lisa Marie Presley’s MySpace blog here.