Hundreds of people massed outside the hospital after news of Jackson's hospitalisation and death emerged.

'King of pop'

The news comes four months after Jackson, 50, announced that he was to perform a series of 50 shows in London in July. 
 

Jackson was one of the biggest solo artists during the 1980s and 1990s [Reuters] 
The shows were seen as the beginning of a public comeback by Jackson, who had spent recent years countering a series of damaging allegations about his private life.

The singer was acquitted in 2005 of charges alleging that he had committed abuses abuses against children and that he had plotted to kidnap the youth who had filed a complaint against him.

Jackson reached the peak of his fame in the 1980s as a solo artist, after leaving his brothers in the already hugely-successful Jacksons.

His 1982 album 'Thriller' went on to become the world’s then top-selling album of all time, with sales exceeding 41 million copies, cementing his image as the self-styled "King of Pop".

But while Jackson's 1987 album 'Bad' was also a strong seller and helped him maintain his position as the biggest solo musical artist in the world, critics and fans alike began to pay increasing attention to dramatic changes in Jackson's physical appearance.

Jackson repeatedly denied that he had had a series of plastic surgery sessions to alter his appearance, claiming that a rare skin condition was responsible.

Jackson leaves three children from two marriages, the first to Lisa Marie Presley, who was divorced in 1996, and two to Debbie Rowe, who he divorced in 1999.