From the streets of Gary, Ind., to the palaces of Europe and the Middle East, to New York City's Times Square, millions of fans are mourning the death of Michael Jackson -- fiercely loyal subjects of a man known as the King of Pop.
Word that Jackson, an international superstar for more than four decades, had died Thursday quickly spread around the world, on blogs, in e-mails and through Twitter messages.
Even before it was confirmed that the pop star had died, hundreds converged outside the UCLA Medical Center, where Jackson, 50, was rushed by firefighters. Fans carried flowers, cried, consoled each other and sang songs that defined a generation of people around the world. Dozens more gathered outside Jackson's home to remember an artist nearly unsurpassed in global popularity.
MTV switched to a Jackson-only schedule, playing the artist's memorable videos. Radio stations across the country also dedicated the night to Jackson, only playing hits, such as "Billie Jean," "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough," and "We Are the World."
On the UCLA campus, fraternities on the street behind the hospital blasted the "Thriller" album in his honor. Other students paid tribute more quietly, copying Jackson's signature one-glove style.
At the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York, Jackson fans gathered to pay their respects. They played his greatest hits, danced in the streets, chanted his name and prayed for Jackson and his family.
"For a long time, he was unquestionably the most famous person on the planet," said Jed Hilly, executive director of the Americana Music Association, who worked with Jackson for years while at Sony. "He was remarkable to work with."
Jackson began his career in Gary as a 4-year-old in the Jackson Five, a soul group made up of his siblings, and garnered a generation of fans who grew up with him. His rare talent garnered him multiple accolades, his accolades garnered him outsized fame and his fame earned him a rabidly devoted international fan base.
Three-quarters of a million of those fans bought tickets to see Jackson's first tour in 12 years, which was to start in London in less than a month. All 50 shows for Jackson's "This Is It!" tour sold out.
Newspapers around the world led with the news of Jackson's passing. Italy's "Corriere della Sera" compared him to Elvis Presley, saying both musical icons lived with "excesses and phobias." Another Italian newspaper, "La Stampa" called him "The Devil and Peter Pan" rolled into one.
French newspapers, "Le Parisien" and "Le Figaro" also led with the news of his death, and all the 24-hour TV and radio stations switched to "special edition" mode when the news was made public.
In Paris, Daniela Pierre, 23, said, "he will remain the king of pop forever." 43-year-old Francois Marnez said, "He was a tormented soul, just like every artist is, but he was a great artist above all."
Jackson fans in Moscow left flowers in memory of the star at the American embassy.
Alexander Greve of the Michael Jackson fan club in Magdeburg, Germany, told German broadcaster N-TV, "It's devastating, I cried when I first heard it, now I just feel completely empty - a day I will never forget."