Shocked by news of pop star Michael Jackson's death, a crowd of fans thronged in front of the hospital of the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) on Thursday to pay their last respect.
The news also brought local, national and international media to the scene searching for more information.
Inside the hospital, family members gathered and hugged, comforting each other from the shock, the family's longtime attorney Brian Oxman said.
"This is just one of the saddest occasions," Oxman told local TV KCAL9: "The music of Michael Jackson has been echoing off the walls here at UCLA. It has been one of the most surreal experiences of my life. I've never seen anything like it and the fans here are so extraordinary. They loved this man. I loved this man. He was my friend."
Outside the Jackson family's compound in Encino, Los Angeles, media crews gathered and more fans made their way to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Members of the Jackson family, including his mother, Katherine, were reportedly at the hospital. His father, Joseph, was in Las Vegas.
"I am absolutely devastated at this tragic and unexpected news," said music producer Quincy Jones, who worked with Jackson on multiple albums. "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," Jones said.
Neil Portnow, president and CEO of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, praised the 13-time Grammy winner.
"Rarely has the world received a gift with the magnitude of artistry, talent and vision as Michael Jackson," Portnow said: "He was a true musical icon whose identifiable voice, innovative dance moves, stunning musical versatility and sheer star power carried him from childhood to worldwide acclaim."
"A 13-time Grammy recipient, Michael's career transcends musical and cultural genres and his contributions will always keep him in our hearts and memories. We are deeply saddened by this tragic news and our hearts go out to his family and to music lovers around the globe who mourn this great loss," Portnow said.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said: "The world has lost one of the most influential and iconic figures in the music industry."
"From his performances with the Jackson 5 to the premiere of the 'moonwalk' and `Thriller', Michael was a pop phenomenon who never stopped pushing the envelope of creativity," Schwarzenegger said.
"Though there were serious questions about his personal life, Michael was undoubtedly a great entertainer and his popularity spanned generations and the globe," the governor said: " Maria and I join all Californians in expressing our shock and sadness over his death and our hearts go out to the Jackson family, Michael's children and to his fans worldwide."
Jackson was announced dead at the hospital earlier in the day after suffering a heart attack at his rented home in a wealthy Los Angeles suburb.
Jackson rose to fame with his brothers as a child and later became an international superstar in the 1980s and 90s with a series of world top-hit albums and popular songs.
The "King of Pop," whose musical achievements were overshadowed later in life by his often-eccentric behavior and accusations of lewd behavior with young boys, was in Los Angeles preparing for a series of 50 concerts in London that were expected to be his final on-stage performances.
(Xinhua June 26, 2009)