The sudden death of Michael Jackson jolted his friends and family, a second blow to the entertainment world after it lost another icon, Farrah Fawcett, just hours earlier. "I can't stop crying over the sad news," Madonna says. "I have always admired Michael Jackson. The world has lost one of the greats, but his music will live on forever! My heart goes out to his three children and other members of his family. God bless." Lisa Marie Presley, who was briefly married to Jackson in the mid-1990s, says, "I am so very sad and confused with every emotion possible. I am heartbroken for his children, who I know were everything to him, and for his family. This is such a massive loss on so many levels, words fail me." "My heart is overcome with sadness for the devastating loss of my true friend Michael," adds Brooke Shields, who raised eyebrows when she briefly dated Jackson. "He was an extraordinary friend, artist and contributor to the world. I join his family and his fans in celebrating his incredible life and mourning his untimely passing." Elizabeth Taylor, one of Jackson's closest and longstanding friends, was "too devastated" to issue a statement, her rep says, while Quincy Jones, who produced Jackson's biggest hits, says, "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." Cher, calling in to Larry King Live on CNN, shared many memories of Jackson, including dancing together on the Queen Mary and seeing the musical Dreamgirls together. "I am having a million reactions," said Cher. "When I think of him, I think of this young boy, this teenager I first met … He was a great teenager, optimistic and adorable." Whitney Houston, who has battled her own demons and is on the verge of a comeback, just as Jackson was, released a statement saying simply, "I am full of grief."
Actress Jane Fonda used Twitter to express her grief, writing, "I am stunned. My friend, Michael Jackson is dead. He lived with me for a week on the Golden Pond set after 'Thriller.' " In a statement Thursday afternoon Britney Spears said, "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!" Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy, which honored Jackson with 13 Grammys, says, "Rarely has the world received a gift with the magnitude of artistry, talent, and vision as Michael Jackson. He was a true musical icon." In a long, heartfelt statement, Usher said he was "deeply saddened" by the loss and paid tribute to Jackson's legacy. "May God cover you Michael. We all lift your name up in prayer. I pray for the entire Jackson family particularly Michael's mother, children and all his fans that loved him so much. I would not be the artist, performer, and philanthropist I am today without the influence of Michael. I have great admiration and respect for him and I'm so thankful I had the opportunity to meet and perform with such a great entertainer, who in so many ways, transcended the culture. He broke barriers, he changed radio formats! With music, he made it possible for people like Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama to impact the mainstream world. His legacy is unparalleled. Michael Jackson will never be forgotten." Another star who was clearly influenced by Jackson, Justin Timberlake, also paid tribute to the pop star. "We have lost a genius and a true ambassador of not only Pop music but of all music," he wrote on his Web site. "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." On his Web site, former child actor Corey Feldman, who was once very close friends with Jackson, posted a statement mourning his old pal. "I come to you today with great sadness, acknowledging the loss of the greatest entertainer in the history of mankind. For me he was more than that, he was my idol, he was a role model, he was someone to cry to when my childhood was unbearable, he was a brother, he was a dear friend," Feldman writes. "Unfortunately Michael and I had a falling out on Septenmber 10th 2001 and that broken friendship had never been repaired … I am filled with tremendous sadness and remorse. All I choose to remember from this point is the good times we shared and what an inspiration he was to me and the rest of the world. Nobody will ever be able to do what Michael Jackson has done in this industry, and he was so close to doing it all again. I am truly, and deeply sorry for all of the heartbroken fans and supporters worldwide."