Hours after Michael Jackson’s sudden death from cardiac arrest June 25, stunned friends and family responded with shock and grief.
Steven Spielberg “Just as there will never be another Fred Astaire or Chuck Berry or Elvis Presley, there will never be anyone comparable to Michael Jackson. His talent, his wonderment and his mystery make him legend.”
Martin Scorsese (director of the “Bad” video)“Michael Jackson was extraordinary. When we worked together on “Bad,” I was in awe of his absolute mastery of movement on the one hand, and of the music on the other. Every step he took was absolutely precise and fluid at the same time. It was like watching quicksilver in motion. He was wonderful to work with, an absolute professional at all times, and — it really goes without saying — a true artist. It will be a while before I can get used to the idea that he’s no longer with us.”
Lisa Marie Presley (who was married to Jackson from 1994 to 1996) “I am completely shocked and saddened by Michael’s death. My heart goes out to his children and his family.”
Madonna (Jackson’s date to the 1991 Academy Awards, in an exclusive statement to People) “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.”
Eddie Van Halen“I am really shocked, as I am sure the world is, to hear the news. I had the pleasure of working with Michael on “Beat It” back in ’83, one of my fondest memories in my career. Michael will be missed and may he rest in peace.”
Brooke Shields (who briefly dated the singer) “My heart is overcome with sadness for the devastating loss of my true friend Michael. He was an extraordinary friend, artist and contributor to the world. I join his family and his fans in celebrating his incredible life and mourning his untimely passing.”
Will.i.am (who was working with Jackson on his long-anticipated comeback album) “I am so grateful to have worked with the King. He was a gift to the world. He is a bright light and I wouldn’t be surprised if the world stopped spinning tomorrow.”
Ne-Yo “Michael Jackson will live forever through the thing that he put all of his life energy into: his music. I will do my part to keep the melody alive, to keep the energy forever changing form, but never ever dying! Long live Michael Jackson.”
Don Cornelius (longtime “Soul Train” host) “I met Michael Jackson at the age of eight — when his father and my new friend Joe Jackson first began to bring the Jackson 5 to Chicago, from their home in Gary, Ind., for concert appearances. As the word of the Jackson 5’s devastating abilities as concert artists had already begun to spread like an out-of-control forest fire ... Michael Jackson’s... amazing power as an entertainer was clear and unmistakable; and has never slowed to this very day! His passing will be grieved far beyond that of any other singer,composer, producer, dancer and choreographer, in the history of the world.
Quincy Jones (friend and producer) “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.”
JC Chasez“Words can’t begin to describe my sadness for the loss of Michael Jackson. I was honored and humbled to have the opportunity to perform with him several times and he had a profound influence on my career. Michael forever changed the world of music and entertainment and I will always remember him for his kind and sweet spirit.”
John Landis (director of “Thriller,” who sued Jackson over the video earlier this year) “I was lucky enough to know and work with Michael Jackson in his prime. Michael was an extraordinary talent and a truly great international star. He had a troubled and complicated life and despite his gifts, remains a tragic figure. My wife Deborah and I will always have great affection for him.”