In 2005, he was cleared of charges that he molested a 13-year-old cancer survivor at Neverland in 2003. He had been accused of plying the boy with alcohol and groping him, and of engaging in strange and inappropriate behavior with other children.
The case followed years of rumors about Jackson and young boys. In a TV documentary, he acknowledged sharing his bed with children, a practice he described as sweet and not at all sexual.
Despite the acquittal, the lurid allegations that came out in court took a fearsome toll on his career and image, and he fell into serious financial trouble.
Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley in 1994, and they divorced in 1996. Later that year, Jackson married Deborah Rowe, a former nurse for his dermatologist. They had two children together: Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., known as Prince Michael, now 12; and Paris Michael Katherine Jackson, 11. Rowe filed for divorce in 1999.
Jackson also had a third child, Prince Michael II, now 7. Jackson said the boy, nicknamed Blanket as a baby, was his biological child born from a surrogate mother.
Billboard magazine editorial director Bill Werde said Jackson's star power was unmatched. "The world just lost the biggest pop star in history, no matter how you cut it," Werde said. "He's literally the king of pop."
Jackson's 13 No. 1 one hits on the Billboard charts put him behind only Presley, the Beatles and Mariah Carey, Werde said.
"He was on the eve of potentially redeeming his career a little bit," he said. "People might have started to think of him again in a different light."
- AP PHOTOS: A selection of pictures from the...
- Scientists work toward storing digital...
- Warner Bros. calms fans with fun 'Justice...
- A title and ship for new 'Star Trek' series:...
- New artificial reef is sunk off Florida's...
- Police: Munich suspect was obsessed with mass...
- Brie Larson confirmed as 'Captain Marvel'
- Author, activist speaks at Theodore Roosevelt...
- Planned Parenthood 'CTR' campaign draws... 50
- Erin Stewart: Should you teach your... 19
- After disputes, Dem stars turn their... 14
- Women underrepresented across Utah's... 9
- Police: Munich suspect was obsessed... 5
- Children teach their parents when it... 5
- Wright Words: What I learned from Machu... 4
- Germany: Syrian asylum seekers blows... 3