The music world -- and the world at large -- has been mourning Thursday afternoon's unexpected death of Michael Jackson. Via Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and more, some of music's biggest stars are honoring the King of Pop. Here's what they had to say:
Paul McCartney: "I feel privileged to have hung out and worked with Michael. He was a massively talented boy man with a gentle soul. His music will be remembered forever and my memories of our time together will be happy ones."
Justin Timberlake: "I can't find the words right now to express how deeply saddened I am by Michael's passing. We have lost a genius and a true ambassador of not only pop music but of all music. He has been an inspiration to multiple generations and I will always cherish the moments I shared with him onstage and all of the things I learned about music from him and the time we spent together. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones."
Beyonce: "This is such a tragic loss and a terrible day. The incomparable Michael Jackson has made a bigger impact on music than any other artist in the history of music. He was magic. He was what we all strive to be. He will always be the King of Pop! Life is not about how many breaths you take, but about how many moments in life that take your breath away. For anyone who has ever seen, felt or heard his art, we are all honored to have been alive in this generation to experience the magic of Michael Jackson. I love you, Michael."
Usher: "This loss has deeply saddened me! It is with a heavy heart I composed this statement. May God cover you, Michael. We all lift your name up in prayer. I pray for the entire Jackson family, particularly Michael's mother, children, and all his fans that loved him so much. I would not be the artist, performer, and philanthropist I am today without the influence of Michael. I have great admiration and respect for him, and I'm so thankful I had the opportunity to meet and perform with such a great entertainer, who in so many ways transcended the culture. He broke barriers, he changed radio formats! With music, he made it possible for people like Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama to impact the mainstream world. His legacy is unparalleled. Michael Jackson will never be forgotten."
Diddy: "Michael Jackson showed me that you can actually see the beat. He made the music come to life!! He made me believe in magic. I will miss him!"
Britney Spears: "I was so excited to see his show in London. We were going to be on tour in Europe at the same time and I was going to fly in to see him. He has been an inspiration throughout my entire life and I'm devastated he's gone!"
Former Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell: "I was on my way from Poland to Berlin following a show. At 1 A.M. I got the news and was immediately saddened. I remembered being six years old and seeing the Jackson 5 on our black and white TV. His brothers were cool but he had a halo around him. Superstar at 12. What promise. He had magic! It was by chance that I recorded and rearranged his song 'Billie Jean' and have been amazed at the response it gets when I perform it every night. He was amazingly talented and largely misunderstood. I hope that the media will be kind and celebrate the genius instead of cashing in on the tabloid angles that made him a prisoner. I think he deserves that."
Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump: "I feel like John Lennon got shot. This is sad like 'On the Waterfront,' sad like 'Raging Bull,' sad like 'The Wrestler.' Music rarely gets hits like this; this is almost unparalleled. Even people who didn't enjoy his music have to acknowledge his influences. He was to pop what Davis and Coltrane were to bop. He was to R&B what Neil Armstrong was to the moon: an explorer who discovered a whole world unto itself. He was the Nikola Tesla of dance moves."
Lisa Marie Presley, Jackson's former wife and daughter of Elvis Presley: "I am so very sad and confused with every emotion possible. I am heartbroken for his children who I know were everything to him and for his family. This is such a massive loss on so many levels, words fail me."
Timbaland: "He was just a fabulous guy. Phenomenal. I watched him as a kid and I was like, 'Man, he works very hard.' His music was incredible. Everybody from Chris Brown to everybody who started dancing -- he influenced all of that."
Snoop Dogg: "I feel like his music will never die and his spirit will never die, because he influenced so many of us. He gave us a lot of hope that we feel like we can be big. He was very inspiring and up close and personal with his fans. That to me was special. That's one of the things that I loved about Mike. When I got a chance to meet him, that's the feeling and spirit that I got from him."
Lil' Wayne: "I personally can't believe it. But it's more unfortunate for the world of music.... My love goes out to his family.... A sad day in history, not [just] music."
Chris Brown: "Michael Jackson is the reason why I do music and why I am an entertainer. I am devastated by this great loss, and I will continue to be humbled and inspired by his legacy. My prayers are with his family. Michael will be deeply missed, but never forgotten. He's the greatest, the best ever. No one will ever be better."
Mariah Carey: "I am heartbroken. My prayers go out to the Jackson family and my heart goes out to his children. Let us remember him for his unparalleled contribution to the world of music, his generosity of spirit in his quest to heal the world and the joy he brought to his millions of devoted fans throughout the world. I feel blessed to have performed with him several times and to call him my friend. No artist will ever take his place. His star will shine forever."
Dick Clark, host of American Bandstand: "I knew Michael as a child and watched him grow over the years. Of all the thousands of entertainers I have worked with, Michael was THE most outstanding. Many have tried and will try to copy him, but his talent will never be matched."
MC Hammer: "I will be mourning my friend , brother, mentor, and inspiration. He gave me and my family hope. I would never have been me without him."
John Mayer: "A major strand of our cultural DNA has left us. RIP MJ. I think we'll mourn his loss, as well as the loss of ourselves as children listening to Thriller on the record player."
Imogen Heap: "Noooooooo!!!! Michael Jackson was my childhood! I loved him. So so so so sad."
MF DOOM: "A little bit of everyone died today. I can tell you a piece of me just did."
Talib Kweli: "RIP Michael Jackson. Greatest performer ever."
Boy George: "Total shock and huge sadness about Michael Jackson, may he have some peace now. Amen!"
Fat Joe: "This is probably [among] the top three worst days of my life. MJ -- you know I'm a gangsta rapper so we always got that hard edge, but at the end of the day, the king is the king. I can go down the list: There wouldn't be no Usher, there wouldn't be no Chris Brown. There wouldn't be nobody without MJ. There wouldn't be no Justin. He was just harmony on Earth. I never think MJ ever did anything wrong in his life. He was just a beautiful soul on this earth."
Estelle: "I'm in total shock. He's one of the reasons for me pushing for excellence with everything -- shows, songs -- I do. Prayers for the entire family."
Trick Daddy: "MJ made black folks proud. He influenced our music and our style of dress. He taught us what it meant to be a 'performer.' He was our beloved icon, and we'll hold him in our hearts forever. We've just lost the most loved, talented and famous African-American in the world. Everyone from the age of 25-80 should be saddened by this loss, and if you're younger and you don't know the history, you need to learn it. Michael paved the way for blacks into the mainstream."