Michael Jackson birthday

Fifty-five years ago today, in Gary, Ind., Michael Joseph Jackson was born. While he and his brothers, professionally known as the Jackson 5, would set records with a string of four No. 1 hits, "ABC," "I Want You Back," "The Love You Save" and "I'll Be There," before he was a teenager, Jackson would later shatter all kinds of records, especially with the 1982 album "Thriller," which became (and remains) the best-selling album of all time. Sadly, the King of Pop died July 25, 2009, at age 50, during preparations for his "This Is It" farewell tour. It's an understatement to say that his final years were fraught with difficulty, but Jackson's musical influence and the unforgettable mark he left on the world can't be overstated. In celebration of the iconic entertainer, here are a few images from the last years of his life.

  • Michael Jackson performs on the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, September 8, 1995. Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

  • Michael Jackson and *NSYNC at 2001 MTV Video Music Awards at the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center in New York City, Sept. 6, 2001. Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

  • Michael Jackson performs during his "30th Anniversary Celebration, The Solo Years" concert at New York's Madison Square Garden, Friday, Sept. 7, 2001. Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

  • Michael Jackson, March 31, 2004. in Washington, D.C. Alex Wong/Getty Images

  • Michael Jackson at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards at the Yoyogi National Athletic Stadium May 27, 2006 in Tokyo, Japan. Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images

  • Michael Jackson receives the Legend Award during the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards at Yoyogi National Athletic Stadium, May 27, 2006 in Tokyo, Japan. Junko Kimura/Getty Images

  • Michael Jackson gestures as he announces plans for summer residency at the O2 Arena at a press conference at O2 Arena, March 5, 2009 in London, England. Tim Whitby/Getty Images

  • Michael Jackson is seen on the video screen during the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall, Sept, 13, 2009 in New York City. Christopher Polk/Getty Images

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    The white glove worn by Michael Jackson when he performed "Billie Jean" at 1983 Grammys is seen on display at 'Michael Jackson: The Official Exhibition' held at 02 Arena on October 26, 2009 in London. Samir Hussein/Getty Images

  • An image of the late Michael Jackson is displayed on a monitor during the GRAMMY Awards-Special Merit Awards at the Wilshire Ebell Theater, Jan, 30, 2010 in Los Angeles, Calif. Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images