Groundbreaking legacy will linger
There aren't many entertainers whose deaths could prompt wall-to-wall coverage on media outlets all over the world.
But then Michael Jackson was unique.
In musical terms, the hyperbole is legitimate - he was quite simply an international legend.
For all those who think the coverage is excessive, there are millions of others who have danced to or listened to his music, seen him perform and loved him. And for these people, this is an epochal moment.
There will inevitably be a continuing, prurient interest in his tragic flaws as a human being; but it is as a profoundly groundbreaking talent that he should be remembered.
His voice as a child was extraordinary - he had an unusually adult feel for soul music.
Music journalists such as the late John Peel, Paul Gambaccini and Richard Williams who were present at the Talk of the Town promotional tour in the early 1970s, were dazzled by the showmanship and natural talent the youngster displayed.
After his voice broke, he continued to impress with his vibrato and phrasing.
It is rare to move from childhood fame to success as an adult. But to do it in the way Michael Jackson did underlined his genius.
Much is always made of his 1982 album Thriller and yes, it was brilliant, but to my mind his first big solo album - 1979's Off the Wall - is one of the greatest albums of all time.
It is an album which heralded Michael Jackson's arrival as a major star, but it did much more in terms of musical legacy. It was a watershed moment.
With Quincy Jones as producer, the album married R&B with pop in a way that had never been done before and it was a portent of the dominance of R&B in the charts in the 1980s and 1990s.
It was the slickness and catchiness of the tunes that marked Jackson's style and produced four US top 10 singles including number ones Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough and Rock With You.
Thriller built on that but did something utterly inspirational and smart - he fused black R&B with white rock to produce the best-selling album of all time.
It made Jackson the first truly cross-cultural international superstar.
Of course, I haven't even touched on his awe-inducing dancing, which was both fluid and instinctive. And it made him seem otherwordly.
His musical influence has been long lasting; Michael Jackson's talent has become part of the DNA of popular music and while there is much sadness in his passing, his presence and groundbreaking legacy will linger.