Jackson's death, Boyle's song, Tiger's fall transfix in 2009

Reality eclipsed fiction in 2009 as Michael Jackson took on mythic status in death, a dowdy Scottish woman burst into song on the world stage, and the aura of perfection around Tiger Woods shattered in a cascade of scandal.

It was the sudden death and strange, tormented life of one of America's most gifted pop singers that captivated the world for much of the year.

A child prodigy and the unrivaled "King of Pop" in the 1980s, Jackson was still in command of his talent and preparing for a comeback mega concert in London when he suddenly died June 25 in his Los Angeles mansion. He was 50 years old.

Frail and physically transformed by years of cosmetic surgery, the singer was said to have begged his personal physician to administer a powerful anesthetic, propofol, so he could sleep.

A lethal dose of sedatives, including propofol, was found to be the cause of the death, which was declared a homicide. Jackson's physician, Conrad Murray, was named a suspect although no charges have been filed.

The music legend who gave the world "Thriller" was entombed two months later in a star-studded Hollywood cemetery amid a media frenzy that followed every twist and turn of his funeral, custody proceedings for his children, and the distribution of his fortune.

In death, Jackson's once shaky fortunes soared.

A documentary of his last concert rehearsals, "This is It," reaped 200 million dollars within two weeks of its release in late October.

Even his crystal glove turned to gold: a Macau casino scooped it up at auction for 49,000 dollars.

Jackson was only the most spectacular of the year's obituaries: Just hours before his death, cancer took the life of model and actress Farah Fawcett, the most popular member of the "Charlie's Angels" 1970s TV series.

In August, a heart attack surprised John Hughes, the director whose films 30 years ago made stars of Emilio Estevez, Matthew Broderick and Molly Ringwald and who wrote "Home Alone," the smash hit with then child star Macauley Culkin.

In September, actor Patrick Swayze, remembered for his roles in "Dirty Dancing" and "Ghost," died after a 20-month-long battle against cancer of the pancreas.

The same month French-Polish filmmaker Roman Polanski, 76, was arrested in Switzerland on a US warrant more than three decades after fleeing trial in the United States on charges of having sex with a minor.

For others, it was a lucky year - unbelievably so for Susan Boyle, the plain, single, unemployed 48-year-old from Scotland whose performance of "I Dreamed a Dream" from "Les Miserables" catapulted her from a British talent show to global sensation.

More than 300 million people watched her sing after videos of the performance took off on the Internet.

Her first album, also called "I Dreamed a Dream," topped the US and British music charts, selling 784,000 copies in its first week, the best initial sales since AC/DC's "Black Ice" in 2008, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Even before it hit record stores, the album broke Amazon.com's record as the most pre-sold album ever.

Just when the big celebrity news of the year seemed to be past, the world gasped November 27 on learning that US golfer Tiger Woods was rushed to a hospital after an automobile accident just outside his Florida mansion.

It was just the start of the biggest scandal in the once very private life of the world's number one golfer, unleashing a shattering flood of allegations that linked Woods to affairs with at least 10 women.

Left in pieces was Woods's picture-perfect image as the faithful husband of Swedish model, Elin Nordegren, with whom he has two children - Sam Alexis, age two, and Charlie Axel, born early this year.

Engulfed by the revelations, the billionaire golfer took the stunning decision to take an indefinite break from his beloved sport as he admitted publicly for the first time being unfaithful to his wife.

"It may not be possible to repair the damage I've done, but I want to do my best to try," Woods wrote on his website. "I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children."

But with rumors swirling, and mystery still surrounding the circumstances of his car crash, there was little let up in media interest. It remains the most sought after story on the Internet.

pb-burs/ch/rl

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Finance - Media

£80000 - £90000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: Working for an International Mul...

Business Development Manager

£25000 - £27000 per annum + Bonus: Sauce Recruitment: Within your role as Busi...

IT Graduate

£15 - 20k: Guru Careers: We are looking for an eager IT Graduate / Technology ...

Ad Director / Sales Director

£55 - 65k + 25% Y1 OTE + Fantastic Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an e...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?