Videos: World in shock as Michael Jackson dies

TRIBUTES are pouring in for pop star Michael Jackson, who has died age 50.

TRIBUTES are pouring in for pop star Michael Jackson this morning, who has died age 50.

The moonwalking former child star who rose to prominence as a member of the Jackson Five and became known the world over as the King Of Pop died after a heart attack at his home.

It is reported he suffered a heart attack at his home in California and was not breathing when paramedics arrived.

He was taken to the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Centre, where he arrived in a coma and was later pronounced dead.

Jackson was not breathing when Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics responded to a call at his Los Angeles home about 12.30pm local time, Capt Steve Ruda told the Los Angeles Times.

The paramedics tried to resuscitate him and took him to UCLA Medical Centre, Ruda told the newspaper.

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Jackson was due to perform 50 farewell concerts, bowing out on an illustrious music career spanning several decades which earned him a fortune.

His death brings to a tragic end 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.

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

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

Jackson's brother Jermaine said: “My brother, the legendary King of Pop, passed away on Thursday June 25 at 2.26pm.

“We believe he suffered a cardiac arrest at his home, however the cause of his death is unknown until the results of the autopsy are known. The personal physician who was with him at the time attempted to resuscitated him.”

A spokesman for the hospital added: “When he arrived at hospital at approximately 1.14pm a team of doctors including emergency physicians and cardiologists attempted to resuscitate him for a period of more than one hour, they were unsuccessful.”

TV footage showed a rescue helicopter flying the star's body to a waiting ambulance.

Tributes from the world of music, film and celebrity have flooded in.

His first wife Lisa Marie Presley told MTV: "This is such a massive loss on so many levels, words fail me.'

Madonna said in a statement on the BBC website: "The world has lost one of its greats but his music will live on forever.'

The head of the Sony Corporation Sir Howard Stringer said: "Michael Jackson was a brilliant troubadour for his generation, a genius whose music reflected the passion and creativity of an era.'

And Justin Timberlake - who has been compared to a young Jackson - told MTV: "We have lost a genius and a true ambassador of not only pop music, but of all music.'

A Los Angeles Police Department spokesman said the robbery and homicide team was investigating Jackson's death because of its "high profile'. But he added nothing should be read into his team's involvement.

A post-mortem examination is expected to take place later today, Los Angeles Coroner's Office spokesman Fred Corral said.

Fears were sparked for Jackson's health last month when four of his This Is It concert dates were pushed back but organisers insisted the dates were moved due to the sheer magnitude of the spectacle.

Randy Phillips, president and chief executive officer of AEG Live, said the date changes had "absolutely nothing to do with (Jackson's) health'.

The Rev Al Sharpton, a leading US civil rights campaigner and friend of Jackson for 35 years, said the star was a "trailblazer' and an "historic figure'.

"Michael Jackson made culture accept a person of colour way before Tiger Woods, way before Oprah Winfrey, way before Barack Obama,' he said.

"Michael did with music what they did in sports, in politics, and in television.

"No controversy will erase the historic impact.'

Matt Blank from the Michael Jackson World Network fan club told BBC News 24 he was "a bit dumbfounded and a bit shellshocked by it all'.

He added: "I find it hard to believe this could be a reality.

"In the past, health issues of Michael Jackson have always been rumoured. I can only imagine this is down to the amount of stress he was under to come out and perform.'

Jackson spent time living outside the United States since his 2005 acquittal on child molestation charges.

Jackson leaves three children, Michael Joseph Jackson Junior, Paris Michael Katherine Jackson and Prince "Blanket' Michael Jackson II.

Read Jon Barnes' blog about Jackson's deathClick here to read Editor Nigel Pickover's blog on Jackson's deathClick here to read Jackson's obituary and light a candle in his memoryClick here to read Jackson's obituary and light a candle in his memory