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Sweden mourns death of Michael Jackson

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Sweden mourns death of Michael Jackson
14:51 CEST+02:00
Pop music fans and musicians in Sweden were reeling on Friday following news of the unexpected death of Michael Jackson, who died suddenly on Thursday in Los Angeles at the age of 50.

“What terrible news,” Swedish hip hop artist Timbuktu told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

“He already sung like pro when he was a boy. For me, he was bigger than Elvis. He's shaped me as a person and motivated me to dance and devote myself to music.”

News hit Sweden around midnight on Thursday that Jackson had reportedly been rushed to a Los Angeles hospital in a coma.

By 1am Swedish time, the Los Angeles Times, AP, and CNN were all reporting that Jackson's death had been confirmed, allowing several Swedish newspapers time to devote much of their front pages to the shocking news.

“I think that everyone is still in shock. And I've never seen news spread as fast as this,” Ulf Ekberg of 90s Swedish pop sensations Ace of Base told Aftonbladet.

“He was hugely significant. I've met Michael several times. I'm going to remember him as one of the biggest song writers of all time.”

By mid-morning, a makeshift memorial to the late King of Pop had sprung up across the street from the US Embassy, giving Jackson's fans a central place to offer flowers and messages of farewell.

“I just laid some flowers and some candles,” 39-year-old Malika told The Local near the site of the memorial.

“I grew up with his music in Somalia. He gave me freedom during my teenage years.”

Malika explained that she had booked tickets to London in hopes of catching a glimpse of Jackson at one of the concerts he was scheduled to perform at the city's O2 Arena later this summer.

She added that, because of Jackson, her generation was given “the moves and the music”.

“I thought he was immortal,” Malika continued.

“There will never be another one like him in the music industry.”

In addition to leaving flowers and saying a prayer for Jackson, she also planned to dance to his music all week long.

“I will be playing 'Off the Wall', 'Thriller' and 'History',” she said.

Flowers were also left by 22-year-old Gunilla and 33-year-old Richard, both of whom had spent the morning planting flowers near the US embassy grounds.

“It's hard to believe he's gone,” said Richard.

Jackson's death at 50-years-old also hit close to home for Gunilla, who said that leaving some flowers at the memorial “seemed like the right thing to do”.

“My mother is 51, so it's hard to imagine someone that age dying. And Michael really seemed like he would live forever,” she said.

“He did more for pop music than just about anyone. And he died way too soon.”

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