UPDATE: Sources close to Michael Jackson have confirmed his death. Sources tell me that Jackson, 50, was alone for some time in his home before paramedics arrived. The singer was taken to UCLA Medical Center where, according to a source at the hospital, Jackson was at some point in the early afternoon Thursday taken off life support.

michael jackson Michael Jackson Dies at 50The Jackson family, including his children, had gathered at the singer’s side.

Sources also tell me that Debbie Rowe, the mother of Jackson’s eldest children, Michael and Paris, is “inconsolable” and “very concerned about her children.”

For Jackson’s legions of fans around the world, as well as his family, his death is a tragic blow. In recent weeks as he prepared for a startling 50 shows in London, Jackson was often seen coming and going from doctors’ offices. Now there will likely be questions about his treatments and his history of drug taking.

For Jackson’s three children — Prince Michael, Paris, and Blanket — there are concerns about who will be their guardians. Rowe is the birth mother of the first two. Blanket, as I reported a few years ago, was the product of Jackson picking a surrogate from a catalog.

Confusion will reign over Jackson’s finances. Jackson was up to his ears in debt — almost $400 million.

Despite all the controversy surrounding the pop icon, his legacy will probably now be as resonant as those of Elvis Presley or Marilyn Monroe.

More to come …

Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. He wrote the Intelligencer column for NY Magazine in the mid 90s, reporting on the OJ Simpson trial, as well as for the real Parade magazine (when it was owned by Conde Nast), and has written for the New York Observer, Details, Vogue, Spin, the New York Times, NY Post, Washington Post, and NY Daily News among many publications. He is the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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