Jackson stardom tarnished by scandal

Written by Agencies | Los Angeles | Updated: Jun 27 2009, 05:39am hrs
Michael Jackson saw his musical versatility and head-turning dance moves propel him from child prodigy to solo superstar before child sex abuse scandals tarnished his reputation and his career.

The moon-walking, sequin-gloved performer was beset by eccentricities that in 2008 had turned him into a virtual recluse with a mountain of financial woes. Concerns about his health had been rampant during his 2005 trial in California on charges of child sex abuseat which he was acquittedand in 2008 when he was photographed in Las Vegas in a wheelchair for reasons that were never explained. After two, ultimately unproved, allegations in 1993 and 2003 of sexually abusing young boys during sleepovers at his Neverland Ranch in California, Jackson never recovered the exuberance and musical creativity that marked his youth.

After his acquittal in 2005 on charges of sexual abuse of a 13-year-old boy, Jackson shut the gates of Neverland and began a nomadic lifestyle in Bahrain, Dubai, Ireland and Las Vegas while battling lawsuits .

Jackson said he loved children and would never harm them but he was often forced to defend his views on sharing his bed with children.