LONDON – Michael Jackson (search) fans around the world celebrated his string of "not guilty" verdicts in a California child molestation case and expressed hope Tuesday that his musical career would now hit new heights.
But others said the pop star's ordeal had damaged him and his career beyond repair.
In the Philippines, flamboyant former first lady Imelda Marcos cheered the verdict.
"Once again, the U.S. judicial system worked," she said. "God bless America!"
Jackson, 46, was acquitted Monday of charges he molested a 13-year-old cancer survivor in 2003 and gave the boy wine to facilitate the molestation. He also was accused of conspiring with members of his inner circle to hold the accuser and his family captive to get them to rebut a damaging documentary on Jackson's life.
It was a total legal victory met with jubilation among Jackson supporters.
In Romania, where Jackson is widely popular after he played two huge concerts in 1992 and 1996 and donated a playground to a Bucharest orphanage, fans were elated.
"It couldn't have been a better verdict, although it was the only verdict they could have come up with," said Alexandru Ciocodeica. He and other fans said they were crying with joy.
Australian fan Dorin Birkental, 22, traveled to California in April to observe part of the trial.
"It made me very angry because I saw Michael Jackson sitting in the courtroom and he was just so frail and thin," she said. "It took so much out of him. All he's ever done is just do good and make amazing music."
Others doubted the one-time King of Pop could regain his throne.
"The magic is forgotten," said Valdeci Pereira, an evangelist preacher in the Dona Marta shantytown in Rio de Janeiro where Jackson filmed the video "They Don't Care About Us" in 1996. "People will never listen to his music the same way again."
In Kuala Lumpur, Mohamad Zulkifli Abdul Jalil, editor of the Malaysian edition of FHM magazine, said Jackson's career is tarnished regardless of the verdict.
"I hate to say it, but he's doomed," he said.
In Taiwan, 19-year-old waitress Cindy Chu said on her way to work Tuesday that Jackson would find it hard to put the trial behind him, despite the acquittal.
"He might not find success again, because there will be a shadow over him for the rest of his life," she said.
In China, deejay Felix Hu of China Radio International predicted the damage to Jackson's image will only be temporary.
"For a while, we were advised not to play Michael Jackson songs when he was first charged. But now it's OK," said the Beijing-based Hu.
"The accusations were a blow to his image. But if he continues to produce good music, people will soon forget," Hu said. "Look at (search)and George Michael (search). People have forgotten the bad things that happened in their private lives."
In France, Yves Gautier, author of "Michael Jackson, The Other Side of the Mirror (search)," said Jackson still has loyal core of fans in France and Asia, and could organize a tour when he recovers his health.
"He is a fighter," Gautier told France's LCI television. "He needs to work for financial reasons but most of all for his ego."
Paddy Power, an Irish bookmaker, offered odds of 14-1 on the possibility of Jackson hitting No. 1 on the British pop chart with a new single. More likely, in Power's view, was that Jackson would sell his ranch, Neverland, or his share in the Beatles' songbook — both were offered at even odds.
Fans were relieved just to see the trial over.
"The minutes before the verdict were the most nervous moments of my life. Now, these are the happiest moments of my life," said Kent Vilhemsson, 21, watching from Skovde, Sweden.
In Japan, officials at Wakita Co., Ltd., which manufactures and sells men's clothing under the brand "Michael Jackson," were delighted at the news.
The brand was launched before Jackson's arrest, but the publicity over the allegations has affected sales, said Junichi Ota, managing director at Wakita in Gifu, central Japan.
"To be honest, we feel relieved," Ota said. "(The trial) will have an impact on our brand image, but we avoided the worst case scenario," he said, adding Wakita plans to continue selling its Michael Jackson-brand clothing.
In Australia and the Middle East, TV stations interrupted programming to carry live coverage of the verdict in Santa Maria, Calif.
In Australia, 31-year-old Jason Jackson, a Michael Jackson impersonator since age 11, greeted the verdict with relief.
"I supported Michael from the start and I will continue supporting Michael," he said.