LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Across the country, people reacted in stunned disbelief Thursday as word spread that Michael Jackson had collapsed and died. Within minutes of Jackson's arrival by ambulance at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center people began arriving by the hundreds, the crowd quickly filling a grassy entrance outside the hospital. Overhead, news helicopters whirred noisily and TV trucks clogged streets.

As word spread a few minutes later that Jackson had died, several people burst into tears. Others stood silently, looking pensive, as they waited for official word from the hospital. Still others whipped out cell phones and began calling or texting friends to pump them for information.

A similar scene played out just a couple miles away, in front of Jackson's tony Holmby Hills home, where a Fire Department ambulance had arrived to take him to the hospital.

"I'm in shock," said Becky Williams, a 26-year-old Jackson fan from Salt Lake City who happened to be visiting her sister just down the street.

"He's gone. The legend of music," Williams said in disbelief as she stood outside Jackson's home.

In Holmby Hills, cars — many of them with stereo systems blaring songs from Jackson's classic "Thriller" album — began go clog the streets.

As people began to leave their cars to snap pictures, a police officer warned them their cars would be towed if they didn't move.

Among those who drove to the neighborhood was Sue Mossell, who was visiting from Georgia with her two sons, 7-year-old Ryan and 12-year-old Jimmy.

Ryan placed a pink flower in front of Jackson's gate.

"He wanted to put a flower down for him," said Mossell, 46, who said she grew up listening to Jackson's music.

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Associated Press writers Derrik J. Lang, Anthony McCartney and Solvej Schou contributed to this story.