Brown: Jackson death is ‘very sad’

By Ian Dunt

The prime minister has expressed sadness at the death of Michael Jackson, which occurred suddenly yesterday in Los Angeles.

“It’s very sad news for millions of Michael Jackson fans here in Britain and around the world,” his spokesman said.

The singer, branded the king of pop by critics and fans alike, died yesterday in Los Angeles at around midday local time (20:00 BST).

Hundreds of fans gathered outside the UCLA Medical Centre, where Jackson was taken, and continued to do so into the middle of the night.

Tory leader David Cameron said: “I know Michael Jackson’s fans in Britain and around the world will be sad today.

“Despite the controversies, he was a legendary entertainer.

“Everybody will be thinking of his family, especially his children, at this time.”

The announcementS came hours after several political news sites, including politics.co.uk, were tricked into reporting a fake tweet on Mr Jackson’s death by foreign secretary David Miliband.

An account set up under the foreign secretary’s name was one of the first to comment on the death of the superstar late yesterday evening.

“Never has one soared so high, yet dived so low. RIP Michael Jackson,” it read.

The BBC, London Paper, politics.co.uk and several other outlets reported the story until the news spread the account was fake.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “A number of news outlets, including The Guardian, The Mirror, The Telegraph, The Evening Standard, The Daily Express have reported ‘David_Miliband’ commenting on the death of Michael Jackson on Twitter last night.

“This is an apposite moment for us to point out (as some commentators suspect) that the foreign secretary does not have a Twitter account.”

In some of the genuine comments posted by political pundits, Conservative blogger Iain Dale wrote: “Jackson’s music will live on for decades, and rightly so.”

Religious commentator Archbishop Cranmer wrote: “The passing of one so globally significant becomes both political and religious at once.

“In the political realm, this is indeed a day ‘to bury bad news’.”

Michael’s brother, Jermaine Jackson, said doctors had tried to resuscitate him after he suffered a coronary at his home.

“The family request that the media please respect our privacy during this tough time,” he said.

“And Allah be with you Michael always. I love you.”

Mr Jackson had planned to do a huge 50-gig residency at the O2 Arena in east London. Questions are already being asked about concert organisers, and how responsible the stress may have been for his death.

He was working out, in preparation for the concerts, when he collapsed.