Pop's most famous former sweethearts Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake have expressed their sadness at the death of Michael Jackson.
The former couple both performed with the Thriller legend at his 30th Anniversary Celebration in 2001, and have admitted being heavily inspired by the music legend throughout their own careers.
And as world came to grips with the sudden passing of the singer on Thursday (25Jun09) after he suffered a cardiac arrest, the two superstars released separate statements to describe their personal devastation.
Spears, who is currently on tour with her Circus trek, says, "I was so excited to see his show in London. We were going to be on tour in Europe at the same time and I was going to fly in to see him. He has been an inspiration throughout my entire life and I'm devastated he's gone!"
And Timberlake adds that the world has not only lost one of music's most beloved stars, but has also "lost a genius".
He writes in a statement, "I can't find the words right now to express how deeply sadden (sic) I am by Michael's passing. We have lost a genius and a true ambassador of not only pop music, but of all music.
"He has been an inspiration to multiple generations and I will always cherish the moments I shared with him on stage and all of the things I learned about music from him and the time we spent together. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones."