June 25, 2009 — -- Michael Jackson, one the best-selling and most controversial recording artists of all time, died Thursday, ABC News has confirmed.
The Los Angeles Fire Department was called to Jackson's residence at 12:26 p.m. P.T., according to the Los Angeles Times. The paper reported that paramedics performed CPR on Jackson, who was not breathing when they arrived at his home. He was rushed to UCLA Medical Center, just six miles from his home.
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Jackson's death came less than a month before the start of a scheduled series of so-called comeback concerts. From July 13 to March 6, 2010, Jackson was scheduled to perform 50 sold-out concerts at London's O2 Arena.
During a news conference at London's O2 Arena in March, Jackson assured about 2,000 fans -- some who applied for tickets to hear his announcement, others who walked in off the street -- that come July, he would be giving his "final curtain call."
"I just want to say that these will be my final show performances in London," he said to the screaming crowd. "This will be it. When I say this is it, this will be it."
Looking fit and heavily made up, his straightened black hair a contrast to his scarlet mouth, the self-proclaimed King of Pop showed up at the news conference 90 minutes late after traveling by bus in a motorcade. Jackson appeared to soak in the crowd, who shouted his name and "I love you," by pausing several times during his very short statement. He also seemed to make a point of showing how fit he was by pumping his fist a couple times in the air.
"I love you," he said to his fans. "I really do, you have to know that. I love you so much. This is it. See you in July."
Many wondered whether Jackson was healthy enough to perform again when he announced his plans earlier this year.
Recent pictures have shown him being pushed in a wheelchair, appearing frail and gaunt and wearing a face mask while being helped across the street. In December, there were reports that Jackson was on his deathbed, suffering from a rare lung condition, which his publicist denied.
"I find it astonishing that he's physically able to do it," Stacy Brown, a former Jackson family insider who co-wrote the Jackson biography, "Michael Jackson: the Man behind the Mask," told ABCNews.com in March. "Michael will be 51 this year. This is not 'Benjamin Button.' He is not growing younger."
Jackson Showed Signs of Failing Health
Brown recalled seeing Jackson's last live concert performance at Madison Square Garden in 2001 for his 30th anniversary show. Jackson buried his head in brother Jermaine's chest. Later, Brown talked to Jackson's brothers about it.
"Most people thought it was part of the show, but Michael was exhausted," he said.