The emergence of the second allegation damaged Michael’s reputation which led to a decline in his career and finances. He faced civil lawsuits for debts and his Neverland ranch was closed. The singer was out of the spotlight for a while and spent a few years at Bahrain as a guest of Sheikh Abdullah. In 2007, Michael started working on his next album, which he never completed.
At the o2 Arena in London, England, in March 2009 Michael announced a comeback which would be his “final curtain call”.
The tickets for Michael’s “This Is It” tour was sold-out in only four hours with over one million tickets sold in less than two hours. The fifty concert tours were scheduled to last for seven months, his first major concert after HIStory. Rehearsal took place in Los Angeles under the direction of choreographer Kenny Ortega. Unfortunately, Michael would not get to experience his much-anticipated comeback following his death in June 2009.
Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009, at the age of 50 after suffering a cardiac arrest at his home at Los Angeles. After receiving a 911 call, Paramedics arrived within three minutes and started CPR. He was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead by 2: 26 pm. In the official coroner’s report, it was revealed that cause of death was cardiac arrest caused by acute propofol intoxication and lethal overdose on a prescription drug including the sedatives midazolam, diazepam and lidocaine. His autopsy also confirmed that he had vitiligo.
News of his death was a shock to his fans all over the world causing sites and servers to overload. Re-runs of his documentaries and songs were aired on TV station across the globe as fans poured out in thousands to pay their final respects to the king of pop.
Police investigations showed that Dr Conrad Murray was not licensed to prescribe most of the sedatives and proper care was not taken while administering the drugs. Michael’s death was ruled a homicide and Dr Conrad Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter on November 7, 2011. He was sentenced to four years imprisonment but was released two years later for good behaviour.
A televised memorial was held for fans of the King of Pop on July 7, 2009, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles with an estimated 1 billion viewers watching the memorial on TV or online. The Jackson family held a private funeral on September 3, 2009, at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California with only 200 guests in attendance.
After his death, Michael Jackson won four posthumous awards, bringing his total American Music Awards to 26. In 2010 over 8.2 million of his albums were sold in the US, and 35 million albums worldwide, more than any other artist in 2009. He became the first artist to sell one million music downloads in a week, with 2.6 million song downloads. He was the first artist to have a top ten single in the Billboard Hot 100 in five different decades. In 2009 the King of Pop’s 14-minute music video “Thriller”, was inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. It was the first music video to receive such honoured and by 2016, Thriller was certified 33× platinum.
Michael’s debts were settled before his death due to his earlier investment in the Sony/ATV Music catalog. In 2010, Sony Music signed a $250 million deal with Michael Jackson’s estate to extend their distribution rights to Jackson’s back catalog. It was the most expensive music contract for a single artist in history. The Jackson’s estate sold its share of Sony/ATV in 2016 for $750 million, and two years later the estate received another $287.5 million for its stake in EMI Music Publishing.
Michael Jackson has been topping Forbes’s list of top-earning dead celebrities for seven years, since 2013. Currently leading with a whopping $60 million, he topped the list in 2011 with a worth of $170 million and in 2010 with $275 million. On October 28, 2009, Sony released a documentary film containing footages Michael Jackson’s rehearsals for his This Is It Tour. The documentary became the highest-grossing documentary on concert film ever. It earned more than $260 million worldwide and 90% of the earns went into Michael’s estate.
A revolutionary influencer and inspiration for the younger generation, Michael Jackson’s global impact on the music industry was phenomenal. His daring fashion and energetic dance style influenced a lot of musicians today. A lot of his songs, including “Man in the Mirror”, “Cry”, “Earth Song”, “They don’t care about us”, “Black or White” and “Heal the World” protested racial discrimination, social injustice and inequality.
He was posthumously honoured with the 2018 Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation Legacy Award for Humanitarian Service. In 2009, the American Film Institute recognized the singer’s death as a “moment of significance”.
BET said Jackson was “quite simply the greatest entertainer of all time… who revolutionized the music video and brought dances like the moonwalk to the world. Jackson’s sound, style, movement and legacy continues to inspire artists of all genres.” Time pop critic Jay Cocks wrote that “Jackson is the biggest thing since the Beatles. He is the hottest single phenomenon since Elvis Presley. He just may be the most popular black singer ever.” Time described Jackson’s influence at that point as “A songwriter who sets the beat for a decade… A dancer with the fanciest feet on the street. A singer who cuts across all boundaries of taste and style and colour too.” The New York Times wrote, “in the world of pop music, there is Michael Jackson and there is everybody else.”
On December 19, 2014, the British Council of Cultural Relations deemed Jackson’s life one of the 80 most important cultural moments of the 20th century. World Vitiligo Day has been celebrated on June 25, the anniversary of Jackson’s death, to raise awareness of the skin disorder.
Contrary to what most people think, Michael Jackson was very shy and reserved. In an interview with Naomi Campbell while shooting Michael’s single “In the Closet” she said, “Michael is very involved and on top of everything that he’s ever put his name on. He’s shy and sweet, considering all he’s accomplished. But he’s a prankster. When I was doing the video, we had a water pistol fight.” During an interview, Michael said, “People think they know me, but they don’t. Not really. Actually, I am one of the loneliest people on this earth. I cry sometimes because it hurts. It does. To be honest, I guess you could say that it hurts to be me”.
Michael Jackson is the most decorated artists in the world’s history with over 700 awards in his 38 years of career. He was recognised by Guinness World Record as the most successful entertainer of all time. Michael Jackson won several awards including 39 Guinness World Record (currently holding 9), 13 Grammy Awards, including Grammy Legend Award, 16 World Music Award and 26 American Award. Eleven years after his death, no artist has come close to achieving all Michael Jackson achieved in his lifetime. He was and still is a universal music icon loved by millions of people all over the world. His impact and contribution to the music industry is one that will be felt years to come.