Fans in shock at Jackson's death
Hundreds of people rushed to UCLA Medical Centre in Los Angeles as reports began emerging of the death of singing legend Michael Jackson.
Fans of all ages gathered at the hospital to show their support and await news of the 50-year-old entertainer.
Television vans converged on the centre, while news helicopters circled above. Police officers arrived to keep the growing crowds back.
Some of the fans were silent, while others climbed on fences to try to get a better view.
As Jackson's death was confirmed, many broke down in tears and embraced each other.
"I hope he's gone to God, and I hope that he's free of all the troubles he's been plagued with," fan Tonya Blazer, 50, told Reuters news agency.
"I grew up with his music. I used to wear Michael Jackson T-shirts every day to school," another unidentified fan told US broadcaster CBS.
Many fans were in tears as reports of the singer's death emerged
"At my work I was the Michael Jackson freak! I loved him so much. I don't know what to say. I'm just really sad. I think I'm going to start crying."
Groups also gathered outside Jackson's home near Bel Air, from where he was rushed to hospital around midday local time on Thursday.
Melanie Bromley, west coast bureau chief of Us Weekly magazine, spoke of "pandemonium" in the city.
"There is complete disbelief and confusion at the moment. His death came from nowhere," she said.
In New York, passers-by learnt the news when it was flashed up on a big screen in Times Square.
Some expressed sorrow and shock, while others took out their phones to call friends.
"I don't know what to say. It's sad, it's really, really sad," said 18-year-old Nicole Smith. "My mother was a fan. I listened to his music."
Everyone engaged with his brilliant songs, which, coupled with incredible superhuman dancing, made him such a great performer
New Yorker Michael Harris received the news by text message.
"It's like when Kennedy was assassinated," he told the Associated Press news agency. "I will always remember being in Times Square when Michael Jackson died."
At Jackson's childhood home in Gary, Indiana, mourners left flowers and small gifts on the porch.
Mayor Rudy Clay described him as the "world's greatest entertainer". "Our hearts are heavy, heavy here," he said.
As Friday dawned, fans across the Asia-Pacific region awoke to the reports of the singer's death.
In Japan and Australia, broadcasters interrupted scheduled programming to report the news.
"He was an idol of many people, then he suddenly died! My heart is breaking," Reuters news agency quoted one South Korean fan as saying.
In the UK, thousands of fans heard the news late on Thursday at the Glastonbury music festival in Somerset.
Some stalls played Jackson's hits as the news spread through the crowds by mobile phone and word of mouth.
"I'm devastated because I grew up with him," said Ellen Hartley, 23, from Nottingham, who said her parents introduced her to Jackson's music.
"There might be a lot of bad press about him, but in the end I view him as having amazing music," she said.
Katie Dailey, 27, from London, was among those looking forward to seeing him get back on stage at the O2 Arena next month.
"Everyone engaged with his brilliant songs, which, coupled with incredible superhuman dancing, made him such a great performer.
"That made it more sad when he lost his abilities. Everyone desperately hoped that during that series of concerts he'd get them back."