Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009), "King of Pop", was an American recording artist and entertainer. His innovative contributions to music and dance, along with a highly publicized personal life, made him a central part of popular culture around the world for four decades.
The seventh child of the Jackson family, he made his performing debut in 1964 as a member of the group that became The Jackson 5, beginning a solo career in 1971. His 1982 album Thriller remains the best-selling album of all time, with four others—Off the Wall (1979), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991), and HIStory (1995)—among the best selling. He popularized several physically complicated dance moves, such as the robot and the moonwalk, now iconic. He is widely credited with having transformed the music video from a promotional tool into an art form, with videos such as Thriller, "Beat It" and "Billie Jean" making him the first African American to amass a strong crossover following on MTV, and others, such as "Black or White" and "Scream", ensuring his popularity well into the 1990s.
Jackson's personal life generated significant controversy. His changing appearance was noticed from the early 1980s, his skin appearing paler and his facial features becoming almost androgynous. He was accused in 1993 of child sexual abuse, and though no charges were brought, his health suffered when he started using painkillers to cope with the stress. He married twice, first in 1994 and again in 1996, and brought up three children, one of them with a surrogate mother, actions that triggered more speculation about his life. In 2005, he was tried and acquitted of different child molestation allegations, which provoked a further decline in his health. Jackson died at the age of 50 on June 25, 2009, in Los Angeles, after suffering cardiac arrest. His memorial service was broadcast live around the world, and watched by up to one billion people.