It was the moment of the year that made us all stop and turn on our TVs: on June 25, the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, passed away at the age of 50.
The news came as a shock to say the least, and we paused to recall our favorite memories of a long and illustrious career filled with dance performances unlike anything we'd ever seen before. The media blitz began by recounting his most famous moments and videos on TV, radio stations played his songs on repeat, and fans rushed to buy his music. (The following week, he had the No. 1, 2, and 3 best-selling albums in the country). On July 7, a public memorial service featured performances from those who he inspired, including Mariah Carey and Usher. He was later laid to rest in a private ceremony.
But amidst all of the 24-hour coverage, we were still trying to get the full story behind the mystery of his death. Was it murder? A mix of prescription drugs? Just poor health? Why did his doctor wait so long to call 911?
To see more about the events surrounding Jackson's death, read more.
The coroner ruled it as a homicide after finding large amounts of the anesthetic Propofol in Jackson's system, which he reportedly took to help him sleep. Fingers pointed to his doctor, Conrad Murray — even Janet Jackson said in an interview that she held Murray responsible for her brother's death. But despite the mounting evidence, officials say that charges won't be filed until 2010.
In the meantime, Jackson's memory has continued to live on week after week. The documentary This Is It came out in theaters on Oct. 28, but before it even hit screens, it was breaking records for advanced ticket sales. The film was a fitting swan song, showing footage from his upcoming tour which many were touting as his big comeback and proving that the man still had the magic we first saw five decades ago.
But that most certainly wasn't — and won't be — the last of the late and great artist or his family. On Dec. 13, the Jackson brothers will premiere their A&E reality series which will follow them as they cope with his death. I've already admitted that I have mixed feelings on the show, but I will probably tune in at least for the first episode. Then in January, there's talk of a memorial at the Grammy Awards.
Michael may have died, but his career and memory certainly haven't, and I'm sure it will be a long time until a day goes by when we don't hear his name. May he rest in peace.
Check out all of my Best of 2009 coverage here.