This Day in Black History: June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson, the “King of Pop,” died at age 50.

Posted: 06/25/2014 08:00 AM EDT

When the news became public about the death of Michael Jackson on June 25, 2009, radio stations around the world started playing marathon broadcasts of the music of the entertainer who had become one of the most successful artists of all time.

In fact, at the pinnacle of his career, Jackson had become the biggest star in the world, selling more than 750 million albums, including the best-selling album of all time, Thriller. His death by cardiac arrest at his Los Angeles home sent the world into mourning, with fans grieving collectively in the world of social media. In fact, the speed at which the news was spread and commented on caused websites to slow down and crash from overloads.

It was no wonder. Jackson spent more than 40 of his 50 years as a highly successful entertainer. He was born August 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana, into a musical family, which included the Jackson 5. Jackson is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time by Guinness World Records. He transformed the art of the music video and influenced scores of other artists, including Mariah Carey, Usher and Justin Timberlake.

Jackson received numerous awards, including the World Music Award’s “Best Selling Pop Music Artist of the Millennium” and the American Music Award’s “Artist of the Century.” He was a double inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, once as a member of the Jackson 5 in 1997 and as a solo artist in 2001.

In 2010, Jackson was posthumously given the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Several biographies have been written about Jackson, including Michael Jackson: The Man Behind the Mask (2005).

Ironically, as the Associated Press reports, Jackson's "career is more alive than it has been in decades," earning more than $600 million from the proceeds from projects that include a new album, Xscape, that debuted at number 2 on the charts and a traveling Cirque du Soleil show based on his songs.

Joyce Jones contributed to this report.

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 (Photo: WireImage)

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