Death of an icon

In a world where celebrities are often hyped as the biggest, the best and the most brilliant, calling Michael Jackson as The King of Pop hardly seems enough to describe a 40-year career of iconic firsts.

Jackson sold an estimated 750 million records, won 13 Grammy awards, holds the record for best-selling album with Thriller, and was responsible for turning music videos into the pieces of art to which we're accustomed today. His influence on music and popular culture made his face and name among the most recognisable in the world.

His dancing, his music, his videos and his look had children then and now copying every part of his iconic style in the school playground. Thriller was such a pioneering piece of work that fans would buy it and learn the dance moves at home.

As a black artist, he literally changed the face of the music industry, which was predominantly white. He was the first black singer to appear on MTV, and paved the way for many black artists breaking into the business.

Many of today's musicians admire Jackson for his originality. Often described as the definitive showman, it is hard to imagine what pop might have been without him.

We look at some artists who owe much of their success to the King.

Madonna: Possibly the most famous female recording artist in history, Madonna is the same age as Jackson. She said: 'I've always admired Michael Jackson - the world has lost one of its greats, but his music will live on forever.'

Following his lead, she creates controversial music videos, and gives stage performances which centre on spectacle more than the music.

Justin Timberlake: Openly admits to copying Jackson's style, especially in videos such as Like I Love You.

'He has been an inspiration to multiple generations, and I will always cherish the moments I shared with him on stage and all of the things I learned about music from him,' he said. They performed together at the Video Music Awards in 2001.

Sheryl Crow: Sang backing vocals for Jackson during his Bad tour.

'I can't speak highly enough about what I got to witness every single night for nearly two years, which was the brilliance of someone who was truly innovative,' she said. His on-stage presence and professional perfectionism influenced her own career.

Black Eyed Peas: was working on Jackson's new album (currently in production). His dance moves often reflect Jackson's trademark flicks, as do the dances and music of numerous R&B artists today. He said working with Jackson, whom he called 'the King', was a great privilege. He added: 'He was a gift to the world.'

Chris Brown: Often compared to a young Michael Jackson in terms of voice and style, Brown paid homage to his hero at the 2007 MTV Music Awards, dancing just like him.

'Michael Jackson is the reason why I do music and why I am an entertainer,' he said. 'I will continue to be inspired by his legacy. No one will ever be better.'

Jay Chou: Chou's input into his songs is similar to the artistic control Jackson enjoyed, and has led to his nickname 'Michael Jackson of the East'. His videos are in the style of short movies, similar to Jackson's.

Works of genius

As a solo artist, Michael Jackson released 10 studio albums, selling hundreds of millions of copies. Which are missing from your collection?

Got to Be There (1972)

Ben (1972)

Music & Me (1973)

Forever, Michael (1975)

Off the Wall (1979)

Thriller (1982)

Bad (1987)

Dangerous (1991)

History (1995)

Invincible (2001)