The untimely death of Michael Jackson on June 25 brought an outpouring of remembrances and testimonials from his friends and peers within the music industry. Recording artists across genres and industry professionals alike voiced their respect for the man and his music, as well as condolences for the children and family he left behind.
The night before his passing, the King of Pop rehearsed at the Staples Center in Los Angles, CA, where the final stages of the pre-producrion were underway before the entire set was to be shipped to the O2 Arena in London, ENG, for the 50 concerts that were to begin on July 13.
Michael Jackson remembrances:
“Yesterday was a day I will never forget, or want to remember. Michael was both weak and strong, clever and kind, talented beyond belief and equally insecure. He was a doting father, respectful son, loving brother, and caring uncle. He was my friend. I take great solace in the pride and confidence he exhibited during production rehearsals on Wednesday night. That is the memory I will cherish for the rest of my life.” — Randy Philips, president and CEO of AEG Live, promoter of the London concerts
“I am somewhat numb. I’m shocked at the death of Michael Jackson. It’s like a dream, a bad dream. He was so much like a son to me. It’s just hard to realize that Michael Jackson is not here. … As a kid Michael was always beyond his years, he was an innovator, he was a genius at what he did. He had a knowingness about him. At 9 years old, when I first started working with him, he seemed to me like he had been here before. He was just so knowledgeable about life.” — Berry Gordy, Jr., Motown Records founder
“[Jackson was the] cornerstone to the entire music business. He bridged the gap between rhythm and blues and pop music and made it into a global culture.” — Tommy Motolla, former head of Sony Music
“There were great times and memories and a few laughs along the way. I will miss him. I smile a lot when I think of the roads we traveled.” — Benny Collins, friend and longtime tour production manager for Jackson
“It’s so sad and shocking. I feel privileged to have hung out and worked with Michael. He was a massively talented boy man with a gentle soul. His music will be remembered forever, and my memories of our time together will be happy ones. I send my deepest sympathy to his mother and the whole family and to his countless fans all around the world.” — Paul McCartney
“I am so devastated by this terrible news. From the beginning of my career, he was my idol in show business. He was a genius and an incredible artist! I remember when I was growing up and watching him on TV, and all his videos…I had his poster on my wall…he was so amazing…his singing, his writing, his dancing. …It’s unbelievable that he’s no longer with us.” — Celine Dion
“I knew Michael as a child and watched him grow over the years. Of all the thousands of entertainers I have worked with, Michael was THE most outstanding. Many have tried and will try to copy him, but his talent will never be matched. He was truly one-of-a-kind.” — Dick Clark
“I can’t stop crying over the sad news. I have always admired Michael Jackson. The world has lost one of the greats, but his music will live on forever! My heart goes out to his three children and other members of his family. God bless.” — Madonna
“Dazed in the studio. A major strand of our cultural DNA has left us. RIP MJ. I think we’ll mourn his loss as well as the loss of ourselves as children listening to Thriller on the record player.” — John Mayer
“I am absolutely devastated at this tragic and unexpected news. For Michael to be taken away from us so suddenly at such a young age, I just don’t have the words. Divinity brought our souls together on The Wiz and allowed us to do what we were able to throughout the ’80s. 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.” — Quincy Jones
“I was so excited to see his show in London. We were going to be on tour in Europe at the same time, and I was going to fly in to see him. He has been an inspiration throughout my entire life, and I’m devastated he’s gone!” — Britney Spears
“I am so very sad and confused with every emotion possible. I am heartbroken for his children, who I know were everything to him and for his family. This is such a massive loss on so many levels, words fail me.” — Lisa Marie Presley