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Michael Jackson is dead. This is the kind of news that affects you, even if you were not a fan.

The King of Pop died following a heart attack in his LA home amidst weeks of rehearsals for his comeback tour at the O2 in London. He was rushed to UCLA Medical Center in a coma by paramedics following a 911 call from his home. Daily Press were amongst the first to report that the police had confirmed the death to the media, in what had until then been a speculative rush of information on the star’s condition. Even Rolling Stone had not been sure of the news. The BBC at 11.54 Greenwich Meantime were still unsure of the status, deeming Jacko to be merely “gravely ill”, whilst reporting that some US media were claiming he had died.

In what must be a first for Wikipedia, the page on Michael Jackson was down at 11.45pm London time, swarmed by fans checking for updates.

Michael Jackson's Wikipedia Entry

Michael Jackson's Wikipedia Entry

Google’s automatic News search results for Jackson still showed other unrelated stories, bizarrely one involving the Hulk actor Lou Ferrigno who had been training Jacko ahead of the tour that was meant to put behind Jacko the years of child abuse allegations and public trials. Youtube’s Suggest feature reckons it all won’t happen for another 6 months:

Youtube is 6 months out of date

BREAKING NEWS: Jackson will die in 6 months!!! QUICK!!!!!!

American pop culture just shrank significantly in a few days. It’s been probably the biggest week for celebrity deaths in the last…well, ever. Ed McMahon, another staple of American cultural life like Jackson, passed away just 2 days ago. All-American icon and original Charlie’s Angel Farrah Fawcett died within only a few hours of Jackson. And as I write this, word has it the only one I’ll really miss out of the bunch, Jeff Goldblum, has apparently died, falling to his death on the set of his latest movie. Manolith reports:

According to reports from a New Zealand newspaper – and lots of action on Twitter – actor Jeff Goldblum died early this morning after a fatal fall. The alleged death occurred while on set in New Zealand when Goldblum fell over sixty feet off a nearby cliff. As of yet no other news source has picked up the story, so it’s probably false. That said, he is currently filming a movie titled, “Morning Glory“, but no word on where it’s filming.

Last.fm statistics and Spotify listening behavious are probably already reflecting thousands upon thousands of fans tuning the knob to “Michael Jackson Radio.” In a few hours millions of messages from fans will be pouring in all over the news. The Obituaries will be awkward, as editors and sub-editors struggle not to be seen to be speaking ill of the dead whilst trying to remain fair to the facts that belie the closetted Neverland bad dream of his later life.

Cue the biography machine. The shitty paperback “Maximum Michael Jackson” hack jobs that were going to come out anyway with a chapter on his death stapled onto the end. Then in 6 months to a year the big ones will arrive, and stay firmly on most bestseller lists for a good while.

And documentaries. And Youtube videos of bawling fans. Of course.

So goodbye then Michael. You were one troubled guy, and there’s quite a few people who would want to moonwalk on your grave. You bought your way to freedom the way only someone with your money could. But the music kicked the world’s ass right out of its pants. Thousands of today’s acts either sound JUSTin like you, or wouldn’t even be in the music industry unless they’d wanted to be pop stars like you were. You were MTV’s first black artist, as well as one of its most successful white ones. You’re one of the big reasons why Motown-infused Soul made it into mainstream pop, and why its renaissance now in the form of Destiny’s Child and Beyonce, Duffy and Justin Timberlake is actually one of the few welcome nostalgia-cycles. And holy shit, you were one hell of a dancer.

Jackson is apparently survived by no-one, seeing as every fucker on the planet appears to be shuffling off their mortal coil today, severely hamstringing my ability to keep editorial reign over this article.

Last known photo of Heath Ledger

Australia’s 2UE is reporting – Heath Ledger found Dead in New York at a downtown apartment.

Ledger was not found in his own apartment, but that of the Olsen Twins.

The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that Ledger has died of a drug overdose. The circumstances are not being considered a crime. The actor of Brokeback Mountain leaves behind a daughter, which he fathered with Michelle Williams.

In an awful irony, Ledger starred in Candy, a film that deals with the process and nightmares of addiction.

UPDATE

The New York Times Blog has picked up the story too:

The actor Heath Ledger was found dead this afternoon in an apartment building at 421 Broome Street in SoHo, according to the New York City police. Mr. Ledger was 28.

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