Since I had not heard about him for a while I decided to look him up and came across the fact he was diagnosed with Vitiligo (link). It turns the patient's skin blotchy with areas losing their pigmentation. Of course it's a popular belief that he bleached his skin but I believe he used a combination of makeup to blend in the blotches. One can even notice his skin getting paler over the years on his music videos.
It's strange that I became curious about the subject a few days ago and then heard last night that he died. Even our own Michael Jackson thread contained speculation that he was ashamed of being black, among other accusations that he was a pedophile, neither of which I'm totally convinced of.
What do you guys think?