Top 10 Stories of 2009 #1 The Death of Michael Jackson

The world stopped on June 25, 2009 when news broke over TMZ and filtered through subsequent media outlets that cultural icon Michael Jackson had died suddenly of cardiac arrest.

That morning, Jackson was discovered not breathing in his Los Angeles bedroom by his doctor Conrad Murray. Several hours before, Jackson had completed a rehearsal for his comeback London concert series without incident.

Murray attempted CPR for 10 minutes with Jackson 12 year old son Prince Michael present before dialing 911. Because of the lack of a landline and not knowing Jackson’s exact address, the entire process extended to 30 minutes.

Murray would later tell authorities that Jackson had a weak pulse when he found him, and that he was still alive when paramedics took him out the house after 42 minutes of failed CPR in the house.

Michael Jackson was transported to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, and pronounced dead at 2:26PM following an hour plus of resuscitation attempts.

The fallout was immense.

Internet media numbers soared, with popular sites like Google, Amazon, Twitter, and AOL posting record numbers. Stations such as BET and MTV offered sprawling tributes, while mainstream news outlets such as CNN used their shows to focus around the clock coverage to the emerging Jackson saga.

His July 7 memorial service featured over 17,000 fans at LA’s Staples Center, and performances from Mariah Carey, Usher, John Mayer, Stevie Wonder, and Lionel Richie. The event also featured condolences from Nelson Mandela, Diana Ross, Queen Latifah, Berry Gordy, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Martin Luther King III, Al Sharpton, and Brooke Shields. The service is most remembered for its conclusion, with Jackson’s tearful daughter Paris lamenting the loss of her father while surrounded by family.

“I want to say that ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine,” Paris sobbed. “And I just want to say that I love him so much.”

Michael Jackson’s service was one of the most watched events in history, with a reputed 1 billion viewers worldwide.

When autopsy results determined the singer’s death with due to a combination of prescription drugs, most notably the anesthetic Propofol, law enforcement subpoenaed Dr. Conrad Murray’s medical records on Jackson, and announced at the end of August the case was referred to prosecutors for possible foul play.

Jackson family members confirmed that the troubled singer had become dependent on prescription drugs, and shunned several intervention attempts, the last being in 2007 when sister Janet and several brothers were turned away by security at Michael’s residence.

Earlier this month, the LAPD completed their investigation into Jackson’s death and verified that the case will be delivered to the DA over the next few weeks charging Dr. Conrad Murray with involuntary manslaughter.

According to information supplied to TMZ, the DA will have a difficult case since no laws were broken by Murray supplying Jackson with Propofol. Prosecutors will be required to show Murray’s actions constitute “gross negligence,” and resulted in the icon’s death.

To date, Michael Jackson has received dozens of tributes from artists and colleagues such as Spike Lee, Madonna, The Game, Diddy, Chris Brown, Akon, LL Cool J, Usher, Boyz II Men, and 50 Cent.

Jackson’s death also catapulted him to the #1 selling artist of 2009. He sold 29 million LPs worldwide, with 8.2 millions in the United States. The King of Pop broke several Billboard records, the most prominent being having four Top 20 best-selling albums (Number Ones, Thriller, The Essential Michael Jackson, This Is It) in a single year.

In addition, the concert footage film “This Is It” has become the highest grossing documentary-concert film of all time with $257 million in revenue.

Michael Jackson is survived by his three children Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr, Paris Michael Katherine Jackson, and Prince Michael Jackson II.

Control and disbursement of his estate, estimated to be over $560 million in assets, is expected to play out over the next several years.