In March 2009, thousands of fans gathered outside London's O2 Arena to hear the king of pop announce details of his farewell shows, which were due to take place in July. The dates – which were eventually extended to 50 nights, and sold out within hours of going on sale - would have been his first tour in over a decade. "These are my final shows and performances in London… I'll be playing the songs my fans want to hear," he told the audience, many of whom had been waiting for hours in the rain to hear the address. "This is it really it. This is the final curtain call. I'll see you in July and I love you from the bottom of my heart"