Best of 2009

12 Most Shocking Moments of 2009

Michael Jackson's death, the Hudson River miracle crash, the Balloon Boy hoax and more of the year's jaw-dropping stories


When Michael Jackson died suddenly on June 25 at age 50, the world seemed to stop just long enough for fans to mourn, moonwalk and reminisce across generations of "Thriller" lovers. No doubt about it, the King of Pop left behind a rich legacy of musical greatness – but also a complex one, marked by increasingly erratic behavior. He also left behind three children – Blanket, 7; Paris, 11; and Prince Michael, 12 – looming legal battles and a stunning final act: the over $100 million-grossing film This Is It, featuring rehearsal shots from the sold-out comeback tour that never was.