By JIGGER JERUSALEM – Correspondent and MARK FRANCISCO

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SOMETHING inside musician and disc jockey Andrew dela Hostria does not want to believe that the ‘‘King of Pop’’ is dead.

Dela Hostria, known among Hot 106 FM listeners as ‘‘Drue the Dude,’’ said, “I couldn’t believe it.

It seems that a part of my brain still needs to process the information and another part doesn’t want to believe it entirely.”

He said Jackson influenced many of today’s adults who were teenagers in the ’80s.

“We have to admit, if you grew up in the ’80s, you definitely know Michael Jackson. And most probably, his music shaped many people’s preference for music and dance,’’ he said.

Jackson, who once moonwalked above the music world, died around 4 am yesterday (Philippine time) as he prepared to stage a comeback in hopes of vanquishing nightmare years of sexual scandal and financial calamity. He was 50.

Jackson died at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles after being stricken at his rented Holmby Hills home. Paramedics tried to resuscitate him at his home, then rushed him to the hospital, where doctors continued to work on him.

“It is believed he suffered cardiac arrest in his home. However, the cause of his death is unknown until results of the autopsy are known,” Jackson’s brother Jermaine said.

At the time of his death, Jackson was rehearsing hard for what was to be his greatest comeback:

He was scheduled for an unprecedented 50 shows at a London arena, with the first set for July 13.

Jackson’s death brought a tragic end to a long, bizarre, sometimes farcical decline from his peak in the 1980s, when he was popular music’s premier all-around performer, a uniter of black and white music who shattered the race barrier on MTV, dominated the charts and dazzled even more on stage.

Dela Hostria said he had so much fun watching Jackson perform with his siblings as the ‘‘Jackson 5.’’

‘‘He always brought the house down. [He was] amazing as a child performer and he slightly veered to the weird and bizarre when he got older. Michael Jackson, nevertheless, was the total artist, exciting viewers with his signature crotch-grab move and high-pitched singing,’’ said dela Hostria.

Jackson, through his music, was instrumental in uniting black and white artists during the infancy of MTV, dela Hostria said.

‘‘Michael Jackson left the world a lot of memories and in his passing, he will always be remembered as the ‘King of Pop,’” he said.

‘‘RJ,’’ a dj of 94.3 Wild FM (DxWZ), said she was deeply saddened over Jackson’s death.

“He’s too young,” said the 26-year-old Rosijane ‘‘RJ’’ Triggs who made Jackson her ‘‘idol’’ when she was in high school.

The controversies, including allegations that Jackson abused children, did not change the way the dj looked at Jackson.

“As a fan, I merely set aside whatever negative things some people said about him. I admired him as an artist,” Triggs said.

Thirty-five year old Gunther Solon, ‘‘TJ Brown’’ to radio listeners of 99.1 iFM (DxVM), called Jackson one of the greatest pop singers the world has known.

“His signature moves  and his songs make him unforgettable. And people will also remember him for breaking down the barriers between black and white people. He united them all,” Solon said.

Poris Oliver Actub, a musician cum politician based in Opol town, Misamis Oriental, said Jackson’s stage presence and performances’’ were exceptional.

‘‘He was a guy who forgot his issues on the stage,’’ said Actub. He called Jackson’s performances ‘‘out-of-this-world.’’

Another fan, Jay delos Reyes, associated Jackson with his high school classmates at St. Mary’s in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.

“All of us (St. Mary’s 2nd year high school students) danced to ‘Billie Jean’ during the fiesta field demonstrations in Tagoloan,” said delos Reyes.

Delos Reyes said Jackson’s age at the time of his death, 50, could mean that he would always ‘‘shine like gold.’’

‘‘Michael Jackson will forever be the ‘King of Pop’,” delos Reyes said.

“I thought it was just gossip,” said ABS-CBN’s ‘‘Mag TV’’ host Maxine Monasterio of Jackson’s death. Then reality sunk in.

“I’m watching CNN right now. It brings back a lot of memories. I just saw Michael’s body wrapped in white cloth. This is so surreal. There will be no more Michael Jackson dancing the moonwalk live. No more Michael dancing and singing ‘Billie Jean’ live,” said Netnet Camomot, crying.

Miss Kagay-an 2007 Diana Bagonoc said Jackson’s death is a great loss to the music world.

“It made the world see how great a musician-entertainer he was. He made a legacy, his music will live forever in us,” Bagonoc said.

Councilor Ian Mark Nacaya admitted to be a fan of Jackson’s. “I’ve learned the moonwalk in the ’80s [because of] the ‘King of Pop,’” said Nacaya.

It was the 1982 album “Thriller” that launched Jackson to super stardom. The album, which included the blockbuster hits “Beat It,” “Billie Jean” and “Thriller,” became the best-selling album of all time, with an estimated 50 million copies sold worldwide.

The public first knew Jackson as a boy in the late 1960s, when he was the precocious, spinning lead singer of the Jackson 5.

He was perhaps the most exciting performer of his generation, known for his backward-gliding moonwalk, his feverish, crotch-grabbing dance moves and his high-pitched singing, punctuated with squeals and titters. His single sequined glove, tight, military-style jacket and aviator sunglasses were trademarks, as was his ever-changing, surgically altered appearance.

Jackson ranked alongside Elvis Presley and the Beatles as the biggest pop sensations of all time.

He united two of music’s biggest names when he was briefly married to Presley’s daughter, Lisa Marie.

After the divorce in 1996, Jackson married Deborah Rowe, a former nurse for his dermatologist. They had two children together: Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., known as Prince Michael, and Paris Michael Katherine Jackson. Rowe filed for divorce in 1999.

As years went by, Jackson became an increasingly freakish figure––a middle-aged man-child weirdly out of touch with grown-up life. His skin became lighter, his nose narrower, and he spoke in a breathy, girlish voice. He often wore a germ mask while traveling, kept a pet chimpanzee named Bubbles as one of his closest companions, and surrounded himself with children at his Neverland ranch, a storybook playland filled with toys, rides and animals.

Allegations of pedophilia took a fearsome toll on Jackson’s career and image, and he fell into serious financial trouble.

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