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Michael Jackson was a pop singer who was one of the most influential artists in music video history. He was referred to as the King of Pop, or by his initials MJ.
He debuted on the professional music scene along with his brothers as a member of The Jackson 5 (later renamed the Jacksons) and began his solo career in 1971. In the early 1980s, Jackson became a dominant figure in popular music. The music videos for his songs, including those of "Beat It", "Billie Jean", and "Thriller", were credited with transforming the medium into an art form and a promotional tool, and the popularity of these videos helped to bring the relatively new television channel MTV to fame. Videos such as "Black or White" and "Scream" made him a staple on MTV in the 1990s. Through stage performances and music videos, Jackson popularized a number of complicated dance techniques, such as the robot and the moonwalk. His distinctive musical sound and vocal style have influenced numerous hip hop, pop, contemporary R&B, and rock artists.
Jackson's 1982 album Thriller is the best-selling album of all time. His other records, including Off the Wall, Bad, Dangerous, and HIStory, also rank among the world's best-selling. He won 13 Grammy Awards and 26 American Music Awards. He achieved 13 number-one singles in the United States in his solo career and the estimated sale of over 750 million records worldwide.
While preparing for his concert series entitled This Is It, Jackson died of acute propofol intoxication on June 25, 2009, after suffering from cardiac arrest. The Los Angeles County Coroner ruled his death a homicide, and his personal physician was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. Jackson's death triggered a global outpouring of grief, and as many as one billion people around the world reportedly watched his public memorial service on live television. In March 2010, Sony Music Entertainment signed a $250 million deal with Jackson's estate to retain distribution rights to his recordings until 2017, and to release seven posthumous albums over the decade following his death.