LOS ANGELES – The family of Michael Jackson paid tribute on Tuesday to the “King of Pop,” who died from an overdose of painkillers a decade ago, and said that with his passing, the world lost a gifted artist and extraordinary humanitarian.
“Berry Gordy Jr., the founder of Motown, eulogized his protege by saying (shortly after his death): ‘The King of Pop is not big enough for him. I think he is simply the greatest entertainer that ever lived,’” the Jackson family said in a press release.
“A decade later, Michael Jackson is still with us, his influence embedded in dance, fashion, art and music of the moment,” the statement added.
And while his family highlighted the legend’s musical excellence, they also spoke about his philanthropic and humanitarian work.
The statement ended by quoting Jackson: “‘I believe each person can make a difference in the life of someone in need,’ he said. This is how we honor Michael.”
The eccentric musical genius died on June 25, 2009, from an overdose of anesthetics at his rented mansion near Bel Air, an upscale neighborhood in western Los Angeles.
Local media showed images of dozens of people who came to pay tribute to the star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles and the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.
A brilliant, precocious artist who was catapulted to fame as the standout performer in the best-selling Jackson 5 band (made up by members of his family), Jackson topped the charts for the first time as a solo artist with albums such as “Off the Wall” (1979), “Thriller” (1982) and “Bad” (1987).
While his musical legacy is unquestionable, Jackson’s personal life was mired in controversy for years with allegations of child sexual abuse.
Although he was never convicted of such allegations, this murky affair returned to the present with the recent release of the documentary “Leaving Neverland” (2019), in which two people claim to have been sexually abused by the singer when they were children.