Shortly after the news of Michael Jackson's shocking death Thursday, fans began arriving by the dozens to the family's 22-room estate in Encino, Calif.
They left teddy bears, notes, flowers and candles outside the mansion, which Jackson is said to have adored. The singer's death was palpable across the world. Hundreds left scrap books, flowers and candles outside his childhood home in Gary, Ind.
"He was the first concert I ever went to! It was my birthday present when I was 6-years old," Missy Traubhill, 29, told Usmagazine.com. "My mom took me and my cousin in a limo, and we went to go see Thriller. I bought a blue muscle T-shirt with him on the front. He was in his little black pants, his skinny little black pants and white socks and black shoes. It was my best birthday memory of my life."
Dionica Bel, 25, recalled that Jackson's HIStory was her first album. "I wanted to dance like him, to sing like him," she said. "I, to this day, have not stopped trying to moonwalk. He will always be one of the premiere reasons I fell in love with the kind of music I listen to today. He is his own genre. There would be no Justin Timberlake, there would be no Usher, there would be none of those pop artists today, if not for the ground work that Michael Jackson laid out for them."
Outside NYC's Apollo Theater late Thursday, fans remembered Jackson as well. "What really touched everybody so much out here is knowing that we lost a great person," Conway Murray, 39, told Us. "It's sad, but it's a great moment to see everybody out here together as one, to share the legacy of Michael Jackson."
Wearing a bright yellow Michael Jackson T-shirt featuring four printed pictures of the singer's face, Latifa Salaam, 54, told Us she was "horrified" when she heard the news of his passing. "I jumped up. I said, 'No!' But it was true," she said. "So I grabbed the phone and called my daughter, everybody. Everybody heard. I called my sister, called my cousin. They were crying on the phone."
Added Jasmine Watson, 19: "I came out here because I heard the commotion and wanted to be a part of the memorial. It's beautiful. Here we get to see everyone come together and be together to remember him. I don't think there will ever be another King of Pop."
In NYC's Times Square, a crowd gathered on Broadway and 44th Street outside the MTV studios. An ABC News banner read, "Michael Jackson, King of Pop, Dead at 50." At one point, a bus drove down Seventh Avenue blasting "Billie Jean." Crowds cheered.
Stephanie Defeo, 34, told Us: "I'm heartbroken. You can say Michael Jackson anywhere in the world and people will understand. I can't believe he's dead. Today was a huge loss in pop culture."
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