June 25, 2009. I was a junior associate at a large law firm in New York. My team had an important deposition the next day and there was a full day of preparation ahead.
By mid-afternoon, I had retreated to a conference room and was knee deep in documents when I noticed a jarring headline. Michael Jackson had been rushed to the hospital. I stopped abruptly to read the article, and several others relating to it. My heart sank. Apparently, his condition was serious and there was even speculation that he might be dead. I slammed my laptop shut before I could read more. In my mind, as long as I didn’t have confirmation of Michael’s death, it couldn’t be true.
I stayed in this self-imposed media exile for over an hour. It was 6:38 p.m. when an email from Variety Breaking News appeared suddenly on my BlackBerry screen. Clumsily, I fumbled to turn it off but my eyes had already scanned the subject line: “Pop star Michael Jackson dies at 50.”