How will you remember Michael Jackson? Here are a few thoughts from friends, colleagues and fans. We invite you to share your thoughts on Michael Jackson with a comment below or by e-mailing a letter to the editor at letters@ColumbiaMissourian.com.
"This was the most exciting collaboration of my life with a man who has inspired me like no other. ... This was the world's greatest performer and the world will miss him." — Kenny Ortega, who was directing Jackson's upcoming concerts in London and who said he was his friend for 25 years.
"I will remember Michael in a special way: I was a member of the 1993 Heal the World halftime show at the Super Bowl at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. The organizers of the show recruited high school students from all over southern California to participate and escort local Los Angeles area students onto the field as team leaders. It feels like yesterday, I still remember the feeling of being so close to such a HUGE star... funny, I had not seen the show until today, it is on youtube now. Take a look, the kids in green sweatshirts are high school students, every other child is from the LA area. Compared to shows recently it looks like chaos. For me it was and is amazing. Rest in peace, Michael." — Amy LaPaglia, a fan who shared her thoughts at ColumbiaMissourian.com.
"I always get "Beat It" and "Don't Stop 'Till You Get Enough" stuck in my head. I will miss Jackson and his music." — Taylor Reeh, journalism student and reporter for KBIA News*, via his Twitter feed.
"He was truly a king, as a dancer, as a singer and we may never, ever see a person of talent like that again." — The Laugh Factory comedy club owner Jamie Masada, who arranged Jackson's introduction to the cancer-stricken 13-year-old boy who later accused the singer of molesting him.
"Michael Jackson's accomplished so much that there's not even words to explain what he's done for urban and pop music. Every artist that I personally know has been influenced by him. The world has lost one of the greatest entertainers who shaped many generations and will continue to for years to come." — Motown/pop singer Akon.
"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." — Film director Martin Scorcese.
"The incomparable Michael Jackson has made a bigger impact on music than any other artist in the history of music. He was magic. He was what we all strive to be. ... I love you Michael." — R&B singer Beyonce Knowles.
"From the beginning of my career, he was my idol in show business. ... I had his poster on my wall." — Singer Celine Dion.
"Dazed in the studio. A major strand of our cultural DNA has left us. RIP MJ. ... I think we'll mourn his loss as well as the loss of ourselves as children listening to 'Thriller' on the record player." — Musician John Mayer, via his Twitter feed.
"We are out of our joy. He is out of his pain. ... He was constantly challenged in the press and all he really wanted to be was the greatest entertainer and he was that." — Politician and civil rights activist the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who counseled Michael Jackson at his Neverland ranch while the pop star was defending himself against molestation charges.
"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." — Hip-hop artist Usher.
Watch more video news coverage of Jackson's death here.