Despite persistent allegations that Jackson had inappropriate relationships with children, bizarre and erratic behavior, fans remained loyal.
"I was very surprised, very saddened. I can't imagine the world without him," said Anita Austin of New York. "I didn't always agree with his lifestyle but I loved his music and every time it comes on I'm happy to listen to it again, or dance to it."
Hilly of the Americana Music Association said, "He had the ability from the time he was 6-years-old to connect with a vast incredible amount of people. [It was] sad what happened to his whole life."
Chris Connely, an ABC News contributor was the last to interview Jackson, lives about a mile from the UCLA Medical Center and said he heard nothing but helicopters and sirens all afternoon Thursday.
"It's a sharp contrast to when I interviewed him on the phone last year for his 50th birthday, when his voice would fade in and out like a radio station you desperately wanted to keep listening to," he said.
He was only allowed to ask the pop star three questions, and his daughter suggested that he ask him whether the AARP had tracked him down yet.
"My favorite memory of our brief interview was his laugh after that question," he said. "In an all-too-short life that in so many ways was filled with enigmatic emotions, or troubling ones, his laugh sounded fresh, clear and altogether genuine. If only there had been more of those."
ABC News' Christina Caron contributed to this report, as did Sonia Gallego in London, Dana Hughes in Nairobi, Cao Jun and Beth Loyd in Beijing, Christel Kucharz in Passau, Noriko Namiki in Tokyo, Nick Schifrin in Pakistan, Christophe Schpoliansky in Paris, Lara Setrakian in Abu Dhabi, Tanya Stukalova in Moscow, and Ann Wise in Rome.