The death of music legend Michael Jackson shocked the world today -- and Hollywood's finest are releasing statements about the death of the star.
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!"
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," while Paul McCartney, who collaborated with Jackson at the height of his success, writes on his Web site: "I feel privileged to have hung out and worked with Michael. He was a massively talented boy man with a gentle soul. His music will be remembered forever and my memories of our time together will be happy ones."
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."
"He was magic," said Beyoncé Knowles. She added, "He was what we all strive to be. He will always be the King of Pop!"
Madonna told People, "I can't stop crying over the sad news... 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."
Dame Elizabeth Taylor released a statement about her friend Michael Jackson. Taylor said, "My heart... my mind... are broken. I loved Michael with all my soul and I can't imagine life without him. We had so much in common and we had such loving fun together. I was packing up my clothes to go to London for his opening when I heard the news. I still can't believe it. I don't want to believe it. It can't be so. He will live in my heart forever but it's not enough. My life feels so empty. I don't think anyone knew how much we loved each other. The purest most giving love I've ever known. Oh God! I'm going to miss him. I can't yet imagine life with out him. But I guess with God's help... I'll learn. I keep looking at the photo he gave me of himself, which says, 'To my true love Elizabeth, I love you forever.' And, I will love HIM forever."
John Landis, who directed Jackson's video for his hit "Thriller," said, "I was lucky enough to know and work with Michael Jackson in his prime. Michael was an extraordinary talent and a truly great international star. He had a troubled and complicated life and despite his gifts, remains a tragic figure. My wife Deborah and I will always have great affection for him."
Reverend Al Sharpton was a friend of Jackson's for 35 years and said, "I call on people around the world to pray for him and his family in the hour. I have known Michael since we were both teens, worked with him, marched for him, hosted him at our House of Justice headquarters in New York, and we joined together to eulogize our mutual idol, James Brown. I have known him at his high moments and his low moments and I know he would want us to pray for his family."
Singer Ashanti, who is currently starring in the Broadway production of "The Wiz," shared her thoughts on the death of the superstar, who starred in the 1978 movie based on the musical. She said, "This is such a traumatic loss to the world of entertainment and our global culture. His musical impact has changed lives forever including mine. I had the opportunity to perform at his Neverland Ranch and cover one of his songs 'Rock with You' that to this day I still perform on stage. I know his legacy will live on forever. Tonight our performance of 'The Wiz' will be dedicated to Michael Jackson."
Ne-Yo tells "Extra", "Michael Jackson will live forever through the thing that he put all of his life energy into: his music. I will do my part to keep the melody alive, to keep the energy forever changing form, but never ever dying!! Long live Michael Jackson."
Sean "Diddy" Combs said, "Michael Jackson showed me that you can actually see the beat. He made the music come to life!! He made me believe in magic. I will miss him!"