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July 24, 2014

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Michael Jackson dead at 50

Vegas casino execs weigh in after pop star dies at Los Angeles hospital

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Amy Beth Bennett / Las Vegas Sun

Michael Jackson blows kisses to fans from inside a vehicle just outside of Green Valley Ranch on Nov. 20, 2003. Jackson left Las Vegas on that morning and flew to Santa Barbara, Calif., to turn himself in to authorities on charges of child molestation. He landed at the Henderson Executive Airport that afternoon and drove around Las Vegas and Henderson in a black sport utility vehicle for more than two hours.

Updated Thursday, June 25, 2009 | 6:15 p.m.

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson and members of his entourage ride inside a vehicle just outside the Green Valley Ranch Casino in Henderson on Nov. 20, 2003. Jackson left Las Vegas on that morning and flew to Santa Barbara, Calif., to turn himself in to authorities on charges of child molestation. He landed at the Henderson Executive Airport that afternoon and drove around Las Vegas and Henderson in a black sport utility vehicle for more than two hours. Launch slideshow »

Michael Jackson Comeback Show

Rehearsals were well underway for King of Pop Michael Jackson's 50-date concert run at London's 02 Arena that was set to begin on July 8.

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A tourist who only gave her name as Stacy poses for a photo with Michael Jackson impersonator Chris Gardner and foam Elvis Tony Montana outside La Salsa Cantina on the Strip.

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Michael Jackson briefly lived in Las Vegas in this mansion on West Palomino Lane owned by the Prince of Brunei. The home is seen here Thursday evening.

Some of Jackson's ties to Vegas

  • Jackson briefly lived in Las Vegas in this decade, moving into a mansion in Spanish Trails owned by the Prince of Brunei, a home on West Palomino Lane, and also rented a house in a westside neighborhood just west of Decatur Boulevard near Sahara Avenue, which sat on the same street as a house occupied by NBA player Gary Payton and property owned by longtime Vegas entertainer Frank Marino.
  • Three years ago he was rumored to be embarking on a comeback on the Strip, and was said to be in talks with Steve Wynn for a production at Wynn Las Vegas, but Wynn firmly denied any such partnership was being discussed.
  • Last year he was mentioned as a possible headliner at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, as AEG Live was presenting his scheduled run of concerts at O2 Arena in London (which were scheduled to begin next month), but AEG Live officials said only that Jackson’s performances would be judged for viability before any plans to bring him to Las Vegas were discussed.
  • His most recent reported recordings were held at Studio at the Palms last year, with acclaimed producers Akon and RedOne reportedly producing the sessions. The status and future of those recordings are uncertain.
  • In December, Jackson was bailed out of the $24.5 million he owed on Neverland Ranch when Colony Capital, owned by billionaire Tom Barrack, bought the loan and sparked yet more rumors about Jackson possibly performing at the Las Vegas Hilton (Elvis Presley’s haunt from 1969-1976) because Colony owns the Hilton.
  • - Written by John Katsilometes

LOS ANGELES -- Michael Jackson, the sensationally gifted "King of Pop" who emerged from childhood superstardom to become the entertainment world's most influential singer and dancer before his life and career deteriorated in a freakish series of scandals, died Thursday, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. He was 50.

The person said Jackson died in a Los Angeles hospital. The person was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.

The circumstances of his death were not immediately clear. Jackson was not breathing when Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics responded to a call at his Los Angeles home about 12:30 p.m., Capt. Steve Ruda told the Los Angeles Times. The paramedics performed CPR and took him to UCLA Medical Center, Ruda told the newspaper.

Jackson spent time at a Pahrump home last summer. He was rumored to be planning a show in Las Vegas but rumors were dispelled when Jackson announced his London tour in March.

Jackson spent time in Las Vegas before his 2003 arrest on multiple counts of child molestation. After an overnight stay at Green Valley Ranch in Henderson, Jackson left Las Vegas to surrender to police in Santa Barbara, Calif., on an arrest warrant. He had been seen numerous times in Las Vegas the week before.

Palms owner George Maloof said Thursday afternoon he was saddened to learn of Jackson's death.

"I feel very privileged to have known Michael Jackson and I am saddened by the loss of such a phenomenal talent," he said. "I truly admire his professionalism and contribution to the entertainment industry".

Wynn Resorts executive Steve Wynn echoed those sentiments: "Michael was a wonderful Dad and I feel very sad for the children.”

The singer's father, Joe Jackson, was in Las Vegas when contacted Thursday afternoon by the E! Online celebrity news site.

Jackson's death brought a tragic end to a long, bizarre, sometimes farcical decline from his peak in the 1980s, when he was popular music's premier all-around performer, a uniter of black and white music who shattered the race barrier on MTV, dominated the charts and dazzled even more on stage.

His 1982 album "Thriller" - which included the blockbuster hits "Beat It," "Billie Jean" and "Thriller" - remains the biggest-selling album of all time, with more than 26 million copies.

He was perhaps the most exciting performer of his generation, known for his feverish, crotch-grabbing dance moves and his high-pitched voice punctuated with squeals and titters.

His single sequined glove, tight, military-style jacket and aviator sunglasses were trademarks second only to his ever-changing, surgically altered appearance.

As years went by, he became an increasingly freakish figure - a middle-aged man-child weirdly out of touch with grownup life. His skin became lighter and his nose narrower. He surrounded himself with children at his Neverland ranch, often wore a germ mask while traveling and kept a pet chimpanzee named Bubbles as one of his closest companions.

In 2005, he was cleared of charges he molested a 13-year-old cancer survivor at Neverland in 2003. He had been accused of plying the boy with alcohol and groping him. The case took a fearsome toll on his career and image, and he fell into serious financial trouble.

Jackson was preparing for what was to be his greatest comeback: He was scheduled for an unprecedented 50 shows at a London arena, with the first set for July 13. He was in rehearsals in Los Angeles for the concert, an extravaganza that was to capture the classic Jackson magic: showstopping dance moves, elaborate staging and throbbing dance beats.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the hospital as word of his death spread. The emergency entrance at the UCLA Medical Center, which is near Jackson's rented home, was roped off with police tape.

"Ladies and gentlemen, Michael Jackson has just died," a woman boarding a Manhattan bus called out, shortly after the news was annunced. Immediately many riders reached for their cell phones.

In New York's Times Square, a low groan went up in the crowd when a screen flashed that Jackson had died, and people began relaying the news to friends by cell phone.

"No joke. King of Pop is no more. Wow," Michael Harris, 36, of New York City, read from a text message a friend sent to his telephone. "It's like when Kennedy was assassinated. I will always remember being in Times Square when Michael Jackson died."

Sun reporters John Katsilometes and Amanda Finnegan contributed to this report.

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