The world has been rocked by tragic news of Michael Jackson’s untimely death, and everyone is paying their last respects.
From Hollywood to Capitol Hill to Harlem, it seems like everyone has been inspired by Michael and his music.
Stars that knew Michael as a friend are having a hard time wrapping their heads around the concept that he is gone.
"I can’t stop crying; this is too sudden and shocking," Diana Ross said in a statement. "I am unable to imagine this. My heart is hurting. I am in prayer for his kids and the family." The singer-actress co-starred with Michael in The Wiz and they often performed together while they were both at Motown.
Quincy Jones also worked with Michael on The Wiz, but he is the man behind many of Michael’s most iconic hits. Although he was deeply upset by his friend’s passing, he was able to share a few words about the King of Pop.
"I am absolutely devastated at this tragic and unexpected news," Quincy said of Michael’s death. "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."
Meanwhile, a rep for Elizabeth Taylor said the actress was “too devastated by the passing of her dear friend Michael Jackson to issue a statement at this time."
With a career as illustrious as his, Michael also served as a huge inspiration for the new generation of entertainers. Nick Cannon told MTV News that MJ was the reason the actor-rapper-comedian got into show business. And Estelle credits the pop icon as being the standard she sets for herself in all aspects of her music.
“Michael Jackson has made a bigger impact on music than any other artist in the history of music. He was magic. He was what we all strive to be. He will always be the King of Pop,” Beyoncé added in a statement. “For anyone who has ever seen, felt or heard his art, we are all honored to have been alive in this generation to experience the magic of Michael Jackson."
Justin Timberlake, who had the privilege of sharing the stage with Michael at least twice, echoed those sentiments.
"I can’t find the words right now to express how deeply saddened I am by Michael’s passing," he stated. "We have lost a genius and a true ambassador of not only Pop music, but of all music. He has been an inspiration to multiple generations and I will always cherish the moments I shared with him on stage and all of the things I learned about music from him and the time we spent together. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones."
Grief over the loss even reached legislators in Washington, D.C., where Congress offered a tribute to the fallen singer.
But what about Michael’s everyday fans? Once news of his death broke, countless mourners stood in vigil outside the UCLA Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. On the East Coast, fans gathered outside the Apollo Theater in Harlem to remember Michael and to sing his songs (and praises).
Those that couldn’t make it out to publically grieve Michael’s death with other fans simply took to Facebook, Twitter and MySpace to issue their condolences.
– Sonya Eskridge