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Michael Jackson: Friends and colleagues mourn the entertainer

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Hours after Michael Jackson’s sudden death from cardiac arrest June 25, stunned friends and family responded with shock and grief.

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.”

ELIZABETH TAYLOR
“Oh God! I’m going to miss him. I can’t yet imagine life with out him. But I guess with God’s help… I’ll learn. I keep looking at the photo he gave me of himself, which says, ‘To my true love Elizabeth, I love you forever.’ And, I will love HIM forever.”

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.”

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.”

BRITNEY SPEARS
“I was so excited to see his show in London. We were going to be on tour in Europe at the same time and I was going to fly in to see him. He has been an inspiration throughout my entire life and I’m devastated he’s gone.” 

USHER
“This loss has deeply saddened me. It is with a heavy heart I composed this statement. May God cover you Michael. We all lift your name up in prayer. I pray for the entire Jackson family, particularly Michael’s mother, children, and all his fans that loved him so much…. I have great admiration and respect for him and I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to meet and perform with such a great entertainer, who in so many ways, transcended the culture. He broke barriers, he changed radio formats. With music, he made it possible for people like Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama to impact the mainstream world. His legacy is unparalleled. Michael Jackson will never be forgotten.”

PAUL MCCARTNEY
“I feel privileged to have hung out and worked with Michael. He was a massively talented boy man with a gentle soul. His musicwill be remembered forever and my memories of our time together will be happy ones. I send my deepest sympathy to his mother and the whole family and to his countless fans all around the world.”

SHERYL CROW (a former backup singer for Jackson)
“I can’t say how grateful I am, especially now, that I had the opportunity to observe his greatness every single night. Because every night he really was truly an incredible performer.”   

KRIS ALLEN
“If you are a music fan, you are a Michael Jackson fan. Because he covered it all. He did his own thing, but it appealed to everyone — little kids, my parents. He knew how to make everyone happy.”

FERGIE
“We have lost one of the greatest icons of all time. He forever set the bar for entertainers all around the world.”

NAOMI CAMPBELL (friend and costar for Jackson’s “In the Closet” video)
“No artist has connected to their audience like Michael and no one will ever be able to match what he has achieved. He gave back to people through his charity work and was an amazing father and human being. Michael touched people of every race, nationality, age and was the first truly global superstar. He is one of the all time greats and his role in popular culture will never be surpassed and never ever be forgotten.

COREY FELDMAN
“It is with great sadness that I acknowledge the loss of the greatest entertainer in the history of mankind.  For me, he was more that that, Michael Jackson was a role model, he was someone to cry to when my childhood was unbearable, he was a brother, and he was a dear friend. I treasure the good times we shared and the inspiration that he was to me and to the world. My deepest sympathy goes out to his family, friends and fans.”

EDDIE VAN HALEN
“I am really shocked and deeply saddened, 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.”

DIANA ROSS (costar in The Wiz)
“I can’t stop crying, this is too sudden and shocking.   I am unable to imagine this.  My heart is hurting.    I am in prayer for his kids and the family.”

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.”

JANET JACKSON (statement from her manager, Kenneth Crear)
“Janet Jackson is grief-stricken and devastated at the sudden lossof her brother. She is in pre-production on a film and is flyingimmediately to California to be with her family.”

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE
“I can’t find the words right now to express how deeply saddened I am by Michael’s passing. We have lost a genius and a true ambassador of not only Pop music, but of all music. He has been an inspiration to multiple generations and I will always cherish the moments I shared with him on stage and all of the things I learned about music from him and the time we spent together. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones.”

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.”

R. KELLY (who wrote Jackson’s “You Are Not Alone”)
“I am truly saddened that my mentor, brother, and friend will no longer be with us physically. At the same time, I feel so blessed to have been touched by his music, his dance, his lyrics, and his pure genius. It is because of Michael’s yesterday that I am who I am today!”

JAMIE FOXX (to Extra)
“[I saw] him in concert in 1983, the Victory concert with his brothers. To watch people faint in the audience — grown men fainting, women fainting — just because he was that dynamic…. All you can say is that you hope we put our arms around his family. So much turmoil toward the end of his career…and I think that’s the only thing that you can really hope for is that there is finally peace.”

DIDDY
“Michael Jackson showed me that you can actually see the beat. He made the music come to life! He made me believe in magic. I will miss him!”

LIZA MINNELLI (longtime friend, to The Early Show)
“I’m sure when the autopsy comes, all hell’s going to break loose. So thank God we’re celebrating him now.”

HUEY LEWIS (who sang on “We Are The World”)
“What can be said about the guy? Super talented, and super fabulous, and super sweet at the same time. It’s a sad day for all of us.”

ASHLEE SIMPSON
“His death is a shock. I grew up being inspired by Michael Jackson’s music and magic. He is a legend and his music and heart will forever inspire.”

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.”

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.”

PETE WENTZ (whose band, Fall Out Boy, covered “Beat It”)
“Michael Jackson has been a part of my life for as long I have heard music. He, in my mind, is the ultimate entertainer of our generation. I can remember exact moments of my life based on Michael Jackson songs and videos.”

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.”

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, Indiana, 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.

BERRY GORDY (Motown Records producer and founder, via CNN)
“I am somewhat numb. I’m shocked at the death of Michael Jackson. It’s like a dream, a bad dream. He was so much like a son to me. It’s just hard to realize that Michael Jackson is not here…. As a kid Michael was always beyond his years, he was an innovator, he was a genius at what he did. He had a knowingness about him. At 9 years old, when I first started working with him, he seemed to me like he had been here before. He was just so knowledgeable about life.”

WHITNEY HOUSTON (via CNN)
“I am full of grief.”

MARIAH CAREY (via CNN)
“I am heartbroken. My prayers go out to the Jackson family, and my heart goes out to his children. Let us remember him for his unparalleled contribution to the world of music, his generosity of spirit in his quest to heal the world, and the joy he brought to his millions of devoted fans throughout the world. I feel blessed to have performed with him several times and to call him my friend. No artist will ever take his place. His star will shine forever.”

JOHN LEGEND (via CNN)
“Michael Jackson will always be remembered as one of the greatest performers in the history of popular music. As a child of the ’80s, I feel as though his music and his videos have been an inseparable part of my life and that of an entire generation. And the powerful thing about great music is that it will always live on. He was and always will be an icon. My heart goes out to his family, friends and countless fans for their tragic loss.”

RUSSELL SIMMONS (via CNN)
“Michael Jackson was my generation’s most iconic cultural hero. Courageous, unique and incredibly talented. He’ll be missed greatly.”

DICK CLARK (via CNN)
“I knew Michael as a child and watched him grow over the years. Of all the thousands of entertainers I have worked with, Michael was THE most outstanding. Many have tried and will try to copy him, but his talent will never be matched. He was truly one-of-a-kind.”

CELINE DION (via CNN)
“I am so devastated by this terrible news. From the beginning of my career, he was my idol in show business. He was a genius and an incredible artist! I remember when I was growing up and watching him on TV, and all his videos…I had his poster on my wall…he was so amazing…his singing, his writing, his dancing…. It’s unbelievable that he’s no longer with us.”

REV. AL SHARPTON (via CNN)
“A friend of Michael’s for the last 35 years, I call on people around the world to pray for him and his family in the hour. I have known Michael since we were both teens, worked with him, marched for him, hosted him at our House of Justice headquarters in New York, and we joined together to eulogize our mutual idol, James Brown. I have known him at his high moments and his low moments and I know he would want us to pray for his family.”

WYCLEF JEAN (via CNN)
“Michael Jackson was my musical god. He made me believe that all things are possible, and through real and positive music, he can live forever! I love Michael Jackson. God bless him.”

GLORIA ESTEFAN (via CNN)
“The two great losses that we have felt today can only be balanced by the beautiful things that they left behind in our world. Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson will live forever in my heart as unforgettable and eternal.”

DEEPAK CHOPRA
“Michael Jackson will be remembered, most likely, as a shattered icon, a pop genius who wound up a mutant of fame. That’s not who I will remember, however. His mixture of mystery, isolation, indulgence, overwhelming global fame, and personal loneliness was intimately known to me. For twenty years I observed every aspect, and as easy as it was to love Michael — and to want to protect him — his sudden death yesterday seemed almost fated.”

CHRIS CORNELL (who wrote the rendition of “Billie Jean” that David Cook performed on American Idol)
“I remembered being six years old and seeing the Jackson 5 on our black and white TV. His brothers were cool but he had a halo around him. Superstar at 12. What promise. He had magic…! He was amazingly talented and largely misunderstood. I hope that the media will be kind and celebrate the genius instead of cashing in on the tabloid angles that made him a prisoner. I think he deserves that.”

CAROLE BAYER SAGER(Jackson’s Invincible was dedicated to the songwriter)
“He was one of, if not THE greatest entertainer of all time, and was without question the ‘King of Pop.’ He was also my friend. He recorded a song of mine on his 1979 Off The Wall album and in 1981 we sang a duet  together. We spent a considerable amount of time together in 2001 at my home music studio and I saw him in a totally different light — as a nurturing and caring father.  I was so honored that he dedicated that album to me. My heart and prayers are with his family, his three children, my friend Elizabeth Taylor, and all us who are mourning the premature loss of his very precious life.”

More on Michael Jackson:
Michael Jackson: 18 key moments in the life of the King of Pop
TV grapples with same-day deaths of icons
Jackson on TV: A classic artist, a revolutionary
Michael Jackson: Share your memories
More coverage on CNN.com