Michael Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana on August 19, 1958. Michael's father, Joe Jackson, worked as a crane operator at a steel mill. His mother, Katherine, took care of the family and sometimes took part time jobs. Both of Michael's parents loved music. His dad played guitar for an R & B band and his mother sang and played the piano. Growing up, all of the Jackson children were encouraged to study music.
Michael grew up in a large family. He had five brothers (Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Randy) and three sisters (Rebbie, La Toya, and Janet). Michael was the third youngest with Randy and Janet both being younger. The Jacksons were fairly poor and lived in a small house with just two bedrooms for eleven people.
The three older brothers (Jackie, Tito, and Jermaine) formed a band called the Jackson Brothers. Michael and his brother Marlon joined the band in 1964. Soon, the family realized that Michael was a gifted singer and dancer. At just eight years old, Michael began to sing lead vocals along with his older brother Jermaine. Soon he was now one of the biggest solo stars in music.
Michael Jackson led an interesting, if somewhat strange, private life. He lived in a large complex he named Neverland Ranch, after the land where fictional character Peter Pan lived. Neverland was part home, part amusement park. The ranch had a petting zoo, railroads, and rides such as a Ferris wheel, roller coaster, bumper cards, and a carousel.
Michael was married twice. His first marriage was to Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of the famous rock singer Elvis Presley. His second marriage was to a nursing assistant named Debbie Rowe. He had two children, Michael Joseph Jackson and Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson, with Debbie before they were divorced. Michael also had a third child, Prince Michael Jackson II, but the mother's identity is unknown.
Michael was also famous for changing his appearance. Over the years his nose became thinner, his face changed shape, and his skin tone became lighter. Some people think that he did not like his appearance because of his abuse from his father at a young age. There is also some debate as to how his skin tone changed. Regardless, he looked considerably different as the years passed.
Michael died of a heart attack on June 25, 2009. He was fifty years old. The heart attack was likely caused by drugs he was taking to help him sleep.