East Texans react to the death of the King of Pop - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

East Texans react to the death of the King of Pop

By Taylor Hemness - email

Michael Jackson became the "King of Pop" because his fans latched onto him when he was a kid, and then grew up with him. Thursday night, Tyler radio station Hot 107 spent an hour taking phone calls from fans, that proved how wide his appeal was.

"Me and him was the same age, and i used to watch him on TV when i was a little girl," one caller said. "And I would say that he was going to be my husband."

"Michael Jackson can't die! It's Michael Jackson, you know. He's been around since I was a kid," said another.

Finally, another caller described the impact Jackson's death had on her young son.

"My son is seven years old, and it has affected him so much."

Jackson's 1982 album, Thriller, sold more than 100-million copies, but it's more than a statistic for fans like Elise Mahoney. She can remember what it was like to dance to it when she was a kid.

"I have good thoughts when I think about Michael Jackson," Mahoney said. "I don't think about the negativity, I think about Thriller, and Beat It. It made me feel good. I remember dancing, and feeling excited when I heard the music.

Then there's fans like Troy Lowndes. Thriller came out 13 years before he was born, but he knows the songs because he's played them on "Guitar Hero."

"Even though he's not like part of my family or whatever, sometimes it shocks you that someone you've known about your whole life, it's kind of a shock that they've died," Lowndes said.

Die-hard fan Janet Fair of Tyler has a table littered with Jackson memorabilia, and knows what it was like to see the "King of Pop" in person.

"It was wonderful. It was just explosive, wild, crazy, emotional. It was just awesome," Fair said.

She adds that she knows Jackson will always have fans, and it will be up to them to make sure he's remembered as a great entertainer, not for some of the things that happened in his final years.

"People like me who grew up with him, our first thought is of Michael Jackson, the little boy that we grew up, and we had that relationship first with him as an entertainer," Fair said. "We think of the music first, then the other stuff."

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