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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson

For the last 20 years or so, a man who died on Thursday in Los Angeles has been in the news for sharing his bed with young boys, allegedly molesting at least two of them, dangling his baby son off a hotel balcony, having so much plastic surgery that he looked almost inhuman, marrying and divorcing two women, nearly going bankrupt, having a chimpanzee as a best friend and sleeping in a hyperbaric chamber.

Sometimes it's easy to forget the same man had a brilliant music career in the 1970s and '80s that included the best-selling album of all time, 13 chart-topping singles, more than a dozen Grammy Awards, electrifying live performances and the adoration of millions (perhaps billions) of fans worldwide.

Indeed, after witnessing Michael Jackson evolve from child singing sensation to pop music megastar, it was both sad and painful to watch his life deteriorate into the bizarre freak show that it ultimately became. And it was sad, too, of course, to learn on Thursday that that life had come to an end after a mere 50 years.

Sad, but sadly not surprising.



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