[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/07/mj.performing.singing.art.jpg caption="(Getty Images/AFP/Thierry Salliou )Michael Jackson performs during his first date in Great Britain at Wembley Stadium on July 30, 1992."]
He was lauded and ridiculed. He broke down barriers and built them around himself. He soared to heights unimaginable with his music, and he made the ignominious front page of gutter tabloids worldwide.
For Michael Jackson, the spotlight was always present, and the rest of the world followed.
Even his passing has played out in the spotlight: Thousands are expected to swamp Los Angeles, California, to mourn him today at the Staples Center.