In a life that transitioned from untouchable pop star to curious circus attraction, Michael Jackson checked out before closing time, leaving an empty dance floor and a weathered broken crown in his wake.
He was arguably as big as Elvis for a few short years and, like the King, took his last breath too early but well beyond relevance.
Images of a grown man's Neverland, Joseph Merrick's bones, a dangling baby and purple PJs replaced images of the Top of the Pops, the moonwalk, a confident swagger and sold-out arenas.
If you're over 45, you remember the first time hearing "I'll Be There" and the wonder and amazement of the little tyke with the big afro on lead vocals. You remember when the upstart "ABC" and the gentle "Ben" dominated the airwaves.
Tiger Beat magazine seemingly could not go to publication without the round, smiling face of Jackson on the cover. The legend was literally in its infancy before surging with the vehicle of MTV.
Jackson, with apologies to Madonna, dominated the cutting-edge music channel in its early days. His work with John Landis on the "Thriller" video was groundbreaking and received heavy rotation despite its 13-minute length.
The "Thriller" album shot to the top of the charts and, to this day, is by far the top selling album of all-time with more than 100 million copies leaving the shelves.
In the mid-'80s, once "Thriller" had been tasted and consumed by just about everyone with an ear for music, Jackson created a swoon just by flashing his white glove from behind the stage curtain.
He was untouchable. Until he was accused of touching.
Accusations of sexual relations with children, a premise deemed unforgivable by even most hardened criminals, tarnished his reputation for life.
We could accept the white skin and Teflon-chiseled facial features. We could accept the quirky mannerisms. We could accept that he had more money than he knew what to do with. We could accept his fascination with Liz Taylor.
But the Neverland sleepovers we could not accept. Even if we never knew the complete truth.
No one could listen to his music the same way anymore. It was no longer chic to spin "Beat It" and "Billie Jean" without someone commenting about the source of the rhythm and the negative connotations that came with it.