Tributes to Michael Jackson continued to pour in from music and show business royalty, as superstars mourned the sudden and shocking death of a performer who outshone them all in his prime.
"It's so sad and shocking," said former Beatle Paul McCartney, who teamed up with the Gloved One on the duet "The Girl is Mine." "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."
Quincy Jones, one of Jackson's closest friends and collaborators, said Jackson's death Thursday afternoon left him stunned.
"I am absolutely devastated at this tragic and unexpected news," said Jones, who produced Jackson's biggest hits. “For Michael to be taken away from us so suddenly at such a young age, I just don't have the words.
“To this day, the music we created together on 'Off The Wall,' 'Thriller' and 'Bad' is played in every corner of the world and the reason for that is because he had it all... talent, grace, professionalism and dedication. 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."
Actress Elizabeth Taylor, a close friend of Jackson's for decades, said, "My heart, my mind, are broken. I loved Michael with all my soul and I can't imagine life without him. We had so much in common and we had such loving fun together. I was packing up my clothes to go to London for his opening when I heard the news. I still can't believe it. I don't want to believe it. It can't be so.
"He will live in my heart forever, but it's not enough. My life feels so empty. I don't think anyone knew how much we loved each other. The purest most giving love I've ever known. Oh God! I'm going to miss him. I can't yet imagine life without him. But I guess with God's help, I'll learn. I keep looking at the photo he gave me of himself, which says, `To my true love Elizabeth, I love you forever.' And I will love HIM forever."
Madonna, told People magazine she hasn't stopped crying since she heard the news.
"The world has lost one of the greats, but his music will live on forever!" she said. "My heart goes out to his three children and other members of his family. God bless."
John Landis, who directed the game-changing "Thriller" video, released a statement saying, "I was lucky enough to know and work with Michael Jackson in his prime. Michael was an extraordinary talent and a truly great international star. He had a troubled and complicated life and despite his gifts, remains a tragic figure. My wife Deborah and I will always have great affection for him."
Steven Spielberg told Entertainment Weekly
, "Just as there will never be another Fred Astaire or Chuck Berry or Elvis Presley, there will never be anyone comparable to Michael Jackson. His talent, his wonderment and his mystery make him legend."
Singer Dionne Warwick said, "Michael was a friend and undoubtedly one of the world's greatest entertainers that I fortunately had the pleasure of working with -- we have lost an icon in our industry."
Cher, called in to Larry King Live on CNN to say, "I am having a million reactions. When I think of him, I think of this young boy, this teenager I first met … He was a great teenager, optimistic and adorable. He was a great singer. You can't write him off as just a pop [star]. He was a genius like Ray Charles … He had a gift… He was able to connect with people."
Whitney Houston, released a statement stating simply, "I am full of grief."
Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy, which bestowed many awards upon Jackson over his legendary career, said Jackson's place in music history is secure:
"Rarely has the world received a gift with the magnitude of artistry, talent, and vision as Michael Jackson," said Portnow. "He was a true musical icon whose identifiable voice, innovative dance moves, stunning musical versatility, and sheer star power carried him from childhood to worldwide acclaim. A 13-time GRAMMY recipient, Michael's career transcends musical and cultural genres and his contributions will always keep him in our hearts and memories. We are deeply saddened by this tragic news and our hearts go out to his family and to music lovers around the globe who mourn this great loss."
Arnold Schwarzenegger, governor of the state where Michael Jackson made his home for years, said the world lost "one of the most influential and iconic figures in the music industry."
He said Jackson "never stopped pushing the envelope of creativity" and called him a great entertainer with global appeal. Schwarzenegger also referred to the odd and troubling twists Jackson's life took in more recent years, saying "there were serious questions about his personal life."
The Rev. Al Sharpton, who was also close to the superstar, said, “As a friend of Michael’s for the last 35 years, I call on people around the world to pray for him and his family. I have known Michael since we were both teens, worked with him, marched for him, hosted him at our House of Justice headquarters in New York, and we joined together to eulogize our mutual idol, James Brown. I have known him at his high moments and his low moments and I know he would want us to pray for his family.”
Singer Ashanti, who is currently on Broadway in a production of "The Wiz," a musical which boosted Jackson's early path to stardom when it was produced as a movie in the 1970s, joined with the cast to dedicate Thursday night's performance to the King of Pop.
"This is such traumatic loss to the world of entertainment and our global culture," said Ashanti. "His musical impact has changed lives forever including mine. I had the opportunity to perform at his Neverland ranch and cover one of his songs 'rock with you' that to this day I still perform on stage. I know his legacy will live on forever."
Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis Presley and who was married to Jackson in the mid-1990s, said, "I am so very sad and confused with every emotion possible. I am heartbroken for his children who I know were everything to him and for his family. This is such a massive loss on so many levels, words fail me."
Actress Brooke Shields, a longtime friend, said 'My heart is overcome with sadness for the devastating loss of my true friend Michael. He was an extraordinary friend, artist and contributor to the world. I join his family and his fans in celebrating his incredible life and mourning his untimely passing."
Rolling Stone icon Ben Fong-Torres says it's impossible to overstate the significance of Michael Jackson's passing.
"It's like the death of Elvis Presley and John Lennon," said Fong-Torres, a former writer who was one of the first to chronicle Jackson's career. "It's that enormous."
Other celebs let their emotions show on twitter. Here are some of their tweets, as reported by TMZ:
- 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 famR.I.P.
- MC Hammer: I have no words.. I loved Michael Jackson.. RIP..
- Kelly Rowland: Michael you left such a legacy on this earth, have touched SO MANY!!! We thank you for such a driving inspiration in music & our lives!! This has got to be one of the saddest days in music history!! Michael Rest In Peace! WE miss you!
- Star Jones: Death comes to all. But great achievements build a monument." He IS and WAS the greatest entertainer of all times...Peace to you brother.
- Lindsay Lohan: NO OMG ... sending my love and prayers out to Michael and his family ... i feel sick..
- Marlon Wayans: My prayers, my love, my heart goes out to michael jackson and the entire jackson family. I pray so hard for them. I'm crushed! Please pray.
- Pete Wentz: Prayers and thoughts with michael jackson ... I haven't hope in so long that news isn't true.
- Kim Kardashian: Wow I am truly in shock that Michael Jackson has passed away! I love u Jackson family, my prayers are with the whole family!
- Ashton Kutcher: Rip Sending love and light to family and friend but especially his kids.
- Shanna Moakler: The hard thing about getting older is watching all those who inspired you pass, love to the jackson family.
- Ice T: Rest In Peace Mike. People can say what they want but you were 100% original. WE will always love , miss & remember your GREATNESS.
- John Mayer: Dazed in the studio. A major strand of our cultural DNA has left us. RIP MJ. I think we'll mourn his loss as well as the loss of ourselves as children listening to Thriller on the record player.
- Miley Cyrus: michael jackson was my inspiration. love and blessings
- Diddy: Michael Jackson showed me that you can actually see the beat. He made the music come to life!! He made me believe in magic. I will miss him!
- Samantha Ronson: His music is just as relevant now as it was the day they pressed record, I'm sure it will remain so for generations to come.R.I.P.Mr Jackson.
Published at 4:35 PM EDT on Jun 26, 2009