Justin Timberlake Praises Michael Jackson's Genius

UPDATED 06/26/2009 at 07:15 AM EDT Originally published 06/25/2009 at 08:40 PM EDT

Justin Timberlake Praises Michael Jackson's Genius
Justin Timberlake
Theo Wargo/WireImage
The sudden death of Michael Jackson jolted his friends and family, a second blow to the entertainment world after the loss of another pop icon, Farrah Fawcett, only hours earlier on Thursday.

"We have lost a genius and a true ambassador of not only Pop music but of all music," Justin Timberlake, who was clearly influenced by Jackson, 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."

"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."

Former Wife 'Heartbroken'

Lisa Marie Presley, who was married to Jackson from 1994 to 1996, 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."

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. He was what we all strive to be. He will always be the King of Pop!"

On Friday, Chace Crawford said on Britain's GMTV that he heard the news while at a party hosted by Elton John at the musician's home just outside of London. When word got out, "It was … like an instant viral just spread," said Crawford. "It just instantly changed the energy of the party."

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!"

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."

Elizabeth Taylor 'Devastated'

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."

"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."

Justin Timberlake Praises Michael Jackson's Genius| Tributes, Michael Jackson, Actor Class

Lisa Marie Presley and Michael Jackson

Alpha / Globe

Oscar winner 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.' "

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."

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 September 10th 2001 and that broken friendship had never been repaired," he adds. "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."


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