US President Barack Obama on Tuesday hailed the "extraordinary" musical legacy left by pop superstar Michael Jackson, whom he lauded as among the greatest US performers ever.
"I don't think there's any doubt he was one of the greatest entertainers of our generation -- perhaps any generation," Obama told CNN television in an interview broadcast from Russia, hours before a mammoth memorial service in Los Angeles to bid farewell to the singer, who died on June 25.
"I think like Elvis, like (Frank) Sinatra, like the Beatles, he became a core part of our culture," Obama said. The US leader noted however that "tragedy' also was part of Jackson's life.
"His extraordinary talent and his music was matched with a big dose of tragedy, and difficulty in his private life," Obama said. "I don't think we can ignore that, but it's important for us to affirm what was best in him."