I know this may seem hard to believe, but there was a time when Michael Jackson was king. No one was cooler than he was, he ruled the world. By the time of his death he was viewed in many different ways, victim, bad guy, or even worse, but musically he was in charge in the 80s. He marketed himself well.
He released Thriller in 1982, and it was one album that everyone had "back in the day." Rich, poor, black, white, everyone bought it. I remember my friends all buying posters of him, and another made her own version of his single sparkle glove. He also pioneered the music video scene, everyone wanted his jacket from Beat It. My favorite video of his was Billie Jean, still not sure why the squares lit up when he walked, but trust me, at the time it was genius. Several people in my school tried to do his dance, "the moonwalk," but they couldn't pull it off, and looked silly trying.
Since this is a post about the 80s I don't want to focus on his fall. It's always sad when people die young, especially if they have children. In the 1980s he really was The King of Pop. If you weren't there, you'll just have to take my word for it.