Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American recording artist, entertainer, and philanthropist. Referred to as the King of Pop, he is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time, as well as one of the most influential. His contribution to music, dance and fashion, along with a much-publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades. The seventh child of the Jackson family, he debuted on the professional music scene when he was a child, alongside his brothers as a member of The Jackson 5. He began a solo career in 1971 while still a member of the group and released some of the world's best-selling records: Off the Wall (1979), Thriller (1982), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991) and HIStory (1995).
In the early 1980s, Jackson became a dominant figure in popular music and the first African-American entertainer to have a strong crossover following on MTV. The popularity of music videos for his songs such as "Beat It", "Billie Jean" and "Thriller"—credited for transforming the music video into an art form and a promotional tool—helped bring the relatively new channel to fame. Videos such as "Black or White" and "Scream" made him an enduring staple on MTV in the 1990s. With stage performances and music videos, Jackson popularized a number of dance techniques, such as the robot and the moonwalk. His distinctive musical sound and vocal style have influenced hip hop, pop and contemporary R&B artists.
One of the few artists to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, his other achievements include multiple Guinness World Records, 13 Grammy Awards (as well as the Grammy Legend Award and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award), 26 American Music Awards (more than any artist, including one for "artist of the century") and 13 number one singles in the United States in his solo career (more than any other male artist in the Hot 100 era), and the estimated sale of over 750 million records worldwide. Jackson won hundreds of awards, which have made him the most awarded recording artist in the history of music. Furthermore, he donated and raised hundreds of millions of dollars for beneficial causes and is recognized for supporting more charities than any other musician.
Jackson died on June 25, 2009 after suffering cardiac arrest, and had been preparing for a series of concerts entitled This Is It. Before his death, Jackson had reportedly been administered drugs such as propofol and lorazepam. The Los Angeles County Coroner released an official statement that his death was a homicide. His personal physician pleaded not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter. Jackson's death triggered a global outpouring of grief, and as many as a billion people around the world may have 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 release seven of his posthumous albums over the next decade.