Shock, Sorrow As Nigerians, Africans Mourn Michael Jackson

Published on Saturday 27th June 2009

A mixture of disbelief and sadness has continued to greet the news of pop star Michael Jackson's death across Africa.

For most of yesterday in Nigeria, Jackson's death topped the agenda of discussions virtually everywhere.

A Lagos radio presenter allegedly broke down live on air and could not continue her program. Her co-presenter had to take over.

In offices, homes, markets, everywhere, all anyone could talk about in most major Nigerian cities was the iconic singer.

Most people reminisced about his songs and performances and shook their heads in disbelief at his untimely death.

In their moment of sorrow no one cared about his foibles and bizarre lifestyle, all they wanted to remember were his masterfully choreographed dance moves and pulsating hit songs.

In the singer's honour, radio stations in Lagos dedicated several hours playing Michael Jackson's large repertoire of songs over and over again.

Hundreds of listeners phoned in asking for their favourite MJ songs with some breaking down in tears in the process.

Similarly, a woman in Ghana burst into tears in the capital, Accra, when told by a BBC reporter about the musician's death. "It's not true, no it's not true," she wailed.

"He's a legend; he's not supposed to die," a woman in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi said.

Michael Jackson first visited the continent at the age of 14 as the lead singer of the Jackson Five. Emerging from the plane in Senegal, he responded to a welcome of drummers and dancers by screaming: "This is where I come from."

He returned for an African tour 19 years later, when the King of Pop was crowned chief of several African villages.

Paying tributes to Michael Jackson's artistry, music and movie stars from all over the world have continued to pay tribute to the legend.

Pop star, Madonna said: "I can't stop crying over the sad news. I've always admired Michael Jackson - the world has lost one of its greats, but his music will live on forever. My heart goes out to his three children and other members of his family. God bless."

Beyonce said: "The incomparable Michael Jackson has made a bigger impact on music than any other artist in the history of music. He was magic. He was what we all strive to be. ... I love you Michael," remarked the R & B songstress.

Diana Ross who starred with him in The Wiz and had a close relationship with the singer, said: "I can't stop crying; this is too sudden and shocking. I am unable to imagine this. My heart is hurting. I am in prayer for his kids and the family."

"I am shocked. I am overwhelmed by this tragedy. Michael Jackson has been an idol for me all my life," remarked Celine Dion.

Lisa Marie-Presley, Jackson's ex-wife said: "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."

Meanwhile, the worldwide web suffered near breakdown late on Thursday and early Friday as people around the world rushed to verify accounts of Michael Jackson's death and access additional information on his life.

Search engine Google confirmed to the BBC that when the news first broke, it feared it was under attack.

Millions of people who searched for the star's name on Google News were greeted with an error page.

It warned users "your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application."

"It's true that around the time the singer was officially pronounced dead, some Google News users experienced difficulty accessing search results for queries related to Michael Jackson and saw the error page," said Google spokesman Gabriel Stricker.

The BBC news website reported that traffic to the site at the time of Jackson's death was 72 percent higher than normal.

Google was not the only company overwhelmed by the public's clamour for information.

The microblogging service, Twitter crashed with the sheer volume of people using the service.

Queries about the star soon rocketed to the top of its updates and searches. But the amount of traffic meant it suffered one of its well-known outages. -- Our reporters and agencies

Before the company's servers crashed, TweetVolume noted that "Michael Jackson" appeared in more than 66,500 Twitter updates.

According to initial data from Trendrr, a web service that tracks activity on social media sites, the number of Twitter posts Thursday containing "Michael Jackson" totalled more than 100,000 per hour.

Also early reports of Jackson's death and the confusion surrounding it caused a rash of changes and corrections to be made on his Wikipedia page as editors tried to keep up with events and the number of people trying to update the page.

Web sites of AOL, CBS, CNN, MSNBC and Yahoo also experienced performance problems.



Micheal jackson will remain a legend forever and all the world will respect him as a "king of pop"

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