Sheryl Crow, Michael Jackson’s former backing singer, pays tribute

Diana Ross, Beyonce also mourn the pop star

Sheryl Crow, who worked with Michael Jackson as his back-up singer in the 1980s, has spoken out on the death of her friend and former employer, who passed away yesterday (June 25).

“I am deeply saddened to hear of Michael’s sudden passing,” Crow said in a statement to NME.COM. “His was a rare talent that we witness once in a lifetime. One who makes such an indelible mark that for generations singers and dancers attribute him as inspiration.

“I had the great privilege of watching him every night doing what he did best… entertain. I am grateful to have known him for the two years I worked for him and will mourn his loss with his many millions of fans across the world.”

R Kelly also paid tribute to his “friend and mentor”, saying: “I am truly saddened that my mentor, brother and friend will no longer be with us physically. At the same time I feel so blessed to have been touched by his music, his dance, his lyrics and his pure genius. It is because of Michael’s yesterday that I am who I am today! My condolences to his family and friends around the world. Michael Jackson rest in peace and may your music and legacy forever reign on Earth!”

Like Madonna, Diana Ross also admitted, “I can’t stop crying.” She added: “This is too sudden and shocking. I am unable to imagine this. My heart is hurting. I am in prayer for his kids and the family.”

Beyonce also expressed great affection for the late star. “The incomparable Michael Jackson has made a bigger impact on music than any other artist in the history of music,” she said. “He was magic. He was what we all strive to be… I love you Michael.”

Jackson was taken to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles yesterday after suffering what is believed to be a cardiac arrest at his home.

A team of doctors tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate him for more than an hour before he was declared dead.

Jackson‘s autopsy is set to take place in Los Angeles later today (June 26).

Read NME.COM‘s Michael Jackson obituary online now.

Michael Jackson – a photo tribute

Michael Jackson – a video tribute

Blog – Which is the greatest Michael Jackson track?

Michael Jackson – a life in music

Michael Jackson – a We7 music tribute:

Play Michael Jackson’s Music

–By our Los Angeles staff.
[url=”/about”] Find out more about NME.[/url]