10 June: Reports that Michael Jackson’s 50-show comeback concert tour — to pay his debts — was under great strain due to ill health. Telegraph says: “If you have shelled out for Michael Jackson’s comeback at the O2 next month, you have every right to be feeling a little bit nervous right now.”
25 June, 5:20pm (Los Angeles time): TMZ.com* reports Michael Jackson has died, having suffered a cardiac arrest and slipped into a coma before passing away.
A bit later: While other media sources are still reporting he’s in a coma, LA Times says its sources also confirm MJ is dead.
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8:22am: Fake Stephen Conroy tweets: “I wonder what colour people will change their avatars to in support of Dead Michael Jackson?”
8:34am: Sunrise interviews concert reporter Kevin Jacobsen who promoted MJ’s Bad Tour in Australia.
8:35am: On 4BC Radio (Brisbane), Michael Beatty, currently of the RSPCA and a former journalist, reflects on his interview with Michael Jackson in 1973 or 1974.
About the same time: The Insider publishes an “exclusive last photo” of Michael Jackson
8:36am: John August tweets: “I propose some national pop culture agreement that lets us appropriately acknowledge dead celebs without canonization.” This may be the sanest thing we hear for a while.
8:47am: First Dog changes his phone greeting: “Welcome to Crikey, Michael Jackson died”
8: 49am: Triple J’s Gabby Brown reports MJ’s death — then segues to a spruik for the station’s Hottest 100 of All Time, saying perhaps MJ will appear on it. Brown encourages listeners to get their votes in for the competition.
8:53am: CNN commentator recalls MJ’s child dangling moment.
About the same time: TechCrunch reports that the web, Twitter especially, has been struggling under the weight of the news.
8:54am: CNN plays Thriller video. That puts the time between his death confirmation and playing his film clip about the undead at about 20 minutes.
9:05am: A tale of four deaths:
9:11am: Richard Wilkins, while chatting about MJ on Channel Nine’s Today show, reports that Jeff Goldlum has died filming in New Zealand. Crikey team screams collective: “What?” The story not appearing anywhere else. Agent later confirms he’s OK. Phew.
9:20am: Brad Richardson tweets “Richard Reid on Today claimed that MJ was like ‘Benjamin Button in reverse'”
9:27am: Today show has mash-up of Jackson’s life and music with Richard Wilkins voice-over. Crikey wondering how they edited it together so quickly when it finishes with this quote: “This man is a unique talent, we can’t wait to see what he comes up with next”. Oh dear.
9:38am: Rev Al Sharpton giving press conference outside UCLA Hospital where Michael Jackson died.
9:40am: Today show still saying Jeff Goldblum is dead — having fallen off a cliff in New Zealand. Richard Wilkins calls it an “equal tragedy”. Story still not confirmed anywhere else reputable.
9:41am: Crikey notices Wonkette headline: IT’S 9/11 + HALLOWEEN × INFINITY. It has the tag: “he’s out of my life”. The blog also has “A Children’s Treasury of Presidents Posing With Michael Jackson”, noting that there’s one person who’s “very very happy” about the news — Republican Governor Mark Sanford whose affair, the biggest scandal of yesterday, will now get buried.
by 9:42am: Both 4BC and ABC612 in Brisbane have reported the death of Jeff Goldblum. Crikey not convinced.
About the same time: ABC chats to New Zealand police who confirm Goldblum … is not dead. Today show starts back pedalling on Goldblum death reports.
Shortly after 10am: “Michael Jackson died so that Turnbull might live” — headline on Christian Kerr article in The Oz.
10:10am: Actor Kevin Spacey tweets: “Jeff Goldblum is alive and well. I just spoke to his manager. Stop these stupid rumors.”
10:10am: Crikey work experience kid Cameron sent off to Sanity music store to see whether they’d already moved Michael Jackson merch to the front of the store. The results of his investigation here.
10:19am: Richard Wilkins reveals photo of him and MJ on Today
* The time frame of this developing story is eerily similar to reporting of Heath Ledger’s death.
10:31am: The Onion tweets: BREAKING: Last Piece Of Michael Jackson Dies
10:36am: Melbourne readers say: trains still the most important story of the day.
10:39am: YouTube gets its MJ tribute up.
10:47am: Sydney Morning Herald reports on “Aussie musicians’ grief” — Delta Goodrem, Andrew G, Nikki Webster and other Australian B grade celebrity musicians taking the news of MJs’ death badly, term “brilliance” getting a work-out.
10:47am: New York vox pop via SkyNews: “I thought he was immortal; I thought he’d never die.”
About now: The Australian reporting friend’s mother’s hairdresser’s dog upset by Jackson’s death. Or something like that.
10:09am: First Michael Jackson Keyboard Cat YouTube tribute appears.
Just after 10am: Illusionist and friend of MJ Uri Geller says that under hypnosis, Michael Jackson gave “validation” that he was innocent of child molestation charges — via SkyNews
10:33am: A Darwin man — now pharmacist — who met Michael Jackson as a child defends the singer against molestation charges, according to ABC News
10:58am: Barbara Walters appears on ABC (US) program spruiking tribute to Farrah and Michael (via SkyNews)
11:01am: “According to the LA Times, Michael Jackson has died. Well, what choice did he have?” Crikey’s music blogger Tim Dunlop on future Jackson — “middle-aged crooner with a regular gig in Vegas” — we will now never get to see.
11:05am: New Weekly Twitter tells off The Chaser and The Onion for mocking Michael Jackson: “TOO SOON … guys”.
11:09am: Meghan McCain tweets: “My mom said this is like when Elvis died, crazy to have this happen. It’s still so surreal and tragic…”
11:31am: Today‘s Lisa Wilkinson continues to push Michael Jackson-Princess Diana angle. Says Neverland ranch will likely become a place of “pilgrimage”.
11:32am: Gawker headline: “Twitter Doesn’t Care About Iran Anymore”
11:33am: The Sun posts a pic of the paramedic monitor showing Jackson’s 911 distress call.
11:40am: Was Michael Jackson suffering from Lupus? — Fox News
11:40am: Rumour hits Crikey office that Herald Sun is planning a special 1pm edition to mark MJ’s passing. Confirmed by this pic on their home page.
12:03pm: PunterMug tweets Crikey: Channel Nine’s Tom Steinfort “moments ago outside UCLA hospital still thinks Jeff Goldblum died; was corrected by 6PR’s Harvey Deegan”
12:18pm: The Age, still train focused, Crikey distracted momentarily by Meryl Streep-Care Bears news.
12:27pm: Gawker reports CNN “diligently tracking the movements of Michael Jackson’s dead body.”
12:42pm: John Michael Hausen finally shows up in obligatory interview for SkyNews — we should remember the music, not his strange lifestyle, “Neverland and the monkeys and whatever”.
12:46pm: snapshot of The Oz‘s home page.
12:47pm: Illusionist Uri Geller’s interview comments on permanent loop — now on BBC World.
12:50pm: Crikey receives tweet alerts from readers to the Facebook group establishing a “Memorial Mass Moonwalk” in Martin Place.
1: 11pm: It’s reported that Madonna “can’t stop crying” on BBC World News
1:59pm: Crikey office now watching the tennis.