Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009), a renowned American recording artist, entertainer, and businessman, who contributed greatly to music, dance, and fashion, is often referred to as the King of Pop, or by his initials MJ. Jackson is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time by Guinness World Records. He debuted on the professional music scene with his brothers as a member of The Jackson 5, and began his solo career in 1971.
With his stage performances and music videos, which brought him immense worldwide fame, Jackson popularized a number of complicated dance techniques, such as the robot and the moonwalk, and his original musical sound and vocal style have influenced many hip hop, post-disco, R&B, pop and rock artists.
Jackson's 1982 album Thriller is the best-selling album of all time. His other records, including Off the Wall (1979), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991), and HIStory (1995), also rank among the world's best-selling. His achievements include multiple Guinness World Records; 13 Grammy Awards, 26 American Music Awards (more than any other artist, including the "Artist of the Century"); 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 more than 750 million records around the world. Having won hundreds of awards, Jackson is the most-awarded recording artist in the history of popular music. He was also one of the world's most outstanding humanitarians and philanthropists; personally, as well as through his Heal the World Foundation, he donated over 300 million dollars in charity, and held the Guinness World Record for having supported more charities than any other pop star.
While preparing for his concert series titled This Is It, after suffering from cardiac arrest, Jackson died of acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication on June 25, 2009. The Los Angeles County Coroner ruled his death a homicide, and his personal physician was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. Jackson's death overwhelmed the world with grief, and reportedly one billion people around the world watched his public memorial service on live television. In 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.