Background to Michael Jackson's last words
Michael Jackson was a global figure in popular culture for over four decades. He came on to the professional music scene in 1964 along with his brothers as The Jackson 5 of which he was the lead vocalist. He began his solo career in 1971. Jackson's father has often been accused of a harsh regime when the family were children and has admitted verbally and physically abusing them, especially Michael, and of subjecting them to an arduous rehearsal schedule.
In the early 1980s, Jackson's influence on popular culture, especially pop music and music videos, was profound. The music videos for "Beat It", "Billie Jean" and "Thriller" transformed the medium.
Jackson popularized a number of dance routines, such as the robot and the moonwalk and his vocal style influenced many hip hop, R&B, pop and rock artists.
Jackson's 1982 album Thriller is the best-selling album of all time.
In his later years, Michael Jackson's changing appearance, personal relationships and erratic behavior generated controversy. In 1993, he was accused of child sexual abuse, but the case was settled out of court and no charges were brought. He was tried and acquitted of further child sexual abuse allegations in 2005.
On June 25th 2009, while preparing for a concert series, Jackson suffered a cardiac arrest brought on by acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication. His personal physician Conrad Murray, who administered the drugs, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. An estimated one billion people around the world watched his public memorial service live on television.