Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009), dubbed the "King of Pop", was an American musician and one of the most commercially successful entertainers of all time. His unique contributions to music and dance, along with a highly publicized personal life, made him a prominent figure in popular culture for four decades.
He started a solo career in 1971, having made his debut in 1964 as a member of The Jackson 5. His 1982 album Thriller remains the best-selling album of all time, with four others — Off the Wall (1979), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991), and HIStory (1995) — among the best selling. He popularized several physically complicated dance moves, such as the robot and the moonwalk. He is widely credited with having transformed the music video from a promotional tool into an art form, with videos for his songs "Billie Jean", "Beat It" and "Thriller" making him the first African American artist to amass a strong crossover following on MTV.
A double-inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, his other achievements feature multiple Guinness World Records — including the "Most Successful Entertainer of All Time" — 13 Grammy Awards, 17 number one singles (including the four number ones with Jackson 5), and estimated sales of over 750 million records world-wide. He was also a notable philanthropist and humanitarian who donated and raised million of dollars through his own Heal the World Foundation, and support of 39 other charities.
Jackson's personal life generated significant controversy. His changing appearance was noticed from the early 1980s, with changes to the shape of his nose and to the color of his skin drawing media publicity. He was accused in 1993 of child sexual abuse, although no charges were brought. He married twice, first in 1994 and again in 1996, and brought up three children, one of them born to a surrogate mother. In 2005, he was tried and acquitted of child molestation allegations and cited monetary interest of his accusers. Jackson, in preparations for a 50 date concert, died at the age of 50 on June 25, 2009, in Los Angeles, California after suffering from cardiac arrest. His memorial service was broadcast live around the world.