The music veteran was devastated by the death of his "little brother" Michael, who died in Los Angeles yesterday (25.06.09) after suffering a cardiac arrest.
He said: "I am absolutely devastated at this tragic and unexpected news. For Michael to be taken away from us so suddenly at such a young age, I just don't have the words.
"To this day, the music we created together on 'Off The Wall', 'Thriller' and 'Bad' is played in every corner of the world and the reason for that is because he had it allâ¦ talent, grace, professionalism and dedication.
"He was the consummate entertainer and his contributions and legacy will be felt upon the world forever. I've lost my little brother and part of my soul has gone with him."
Music critic Paul Gambaccini was "overwhelmed" by the death of the 50-year-old pop icon, and predicts the impact of his passing will be "profound".
He said: "Michael Jackson really is the last of the classic pop stars, like Elvis, the Beatles and Frank Sinatra. He was the greatest showman I have ever seen and he will go down in history as one of the best ever."
Michael's former publicist Susan Blond - who guided the singer through his most tumultuous years - has also spoken about the singer.
She revealed: "I don't think it's really hit me yet. My biggest memory of Michael is that Michael loved the fans. When I would say to him, 'Do you really have to sign all these autographs?' he would say he did and I told him, 'Andy Warhol just signs AW, can you sign MJ?' He said 'No, these are my fans, these are the people that made me.'
"That man loved his fans more than anyone I've ever met. He had a fun spirit and a sweetness that people didn't see very much as he grew more guarded over the years. He wasn't meant to grow old I guess."
Reverend Al Sharpton, a civil rights activist and close friend of Michael, described the star as a "trailblazer".
Sharpton said: "Michael Jackson made culture accept a person of colour way before Tiger Woods, way before Oprah Winfrey, way before Barack Obama. Michael did with music what they did in sports, in politics, in television."
Managing Director of BANG Showbiz Rick Sky, who wrote a book about Michael's amazing life and times, said: "I am still in shock as I know millions of people all over the world are. He was a unique star. A true legend who changed the face of music.
"He wanted to live forever and he will through his music and his performances."
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