by SHAUN MILNE
BREAKING NEWS: KING of pop Michael Jackson has died from a heart attack, it was reported in America tonight.
It followed other claims that the star – who was due to play a strong of 50-plus dates in the UK soon – had been in a deep coma.
Thousands of stunned fans began to gather at UCLA hospital in Los Angeles waiting for official news.
Local official claimed the star had been given CPR on his way to hospital.
The dad-of-three – described by some as the Elvis of his day – had massive worldwide appeal despite a life mired in controversy.
Friends and British based PR Jonathan Morris said Jackson was “touched by genius” adding that it had been and “honour and a privilege” to have worked with the man responsible for such hits as Thriller, Beat It, Billie Jean and Bad.
Tickets for what had been billed as his final ever shows at the O2 Arena in London which were scheduled to start on July 8 until March 2010 are now expected top rocket in value among collectors.
Tributes are also expected to be held at Glastonbury music festival this weekend in honour of the man many say changed the face of pop.
He was to feature on the cover of Q magazine in just five days time.
His career began aged just 11 with the Jackson Five before his solo legend began in 1971.
The album Thriller released in 1982 remains among the biggest selling in history in part thanks to the iconic video that same with the title track and Beat It.
His famous Moonwalk has also been copied by generations.
His troubled life saw him twice accused of child abuse, his changing appearance was a constant source of debate, and he eventually lost his beloved Neverland Ranch and fortune.
Yet he sold more than 750 million albums in his career, had 13 number one hit singles and the same number of Grammy Awards.
Shortly before Midnight GMT time all major news channels and newswires confirmed that Jackson had died.
It lead to a wave of tributes from shocked friends, fans and commentators marking the passing of a legend.