The king of pop no longer graces the corner of 18th and Troost. Alexander Austin, also known as "Mural Man," painted a tribute to Michael Jackson after his death in 2009. We spoke to Austin about how his mural no longer exists, and what happened to it:
"First of all, thanks for the interest and thanks to The Pitch for following my work over the years. The mural was painted as a tribute to MJ after I had heard of his passing. Words cannot express the magnitude and the sheer genius of his work, and the millions of people he touched all over the world.
I invited local fans to show their love and appreciation for his music by signing the mural. There were over a thousand signatures on the will, and some of those people came from all over, some driving for hours to pay their last respects and sign the wall the day of his birthday. We had a great time listening to his music celebrating his birthday. It was a bittersweet day that none of us will ever forget. As I do with all my work, I put my heart and my soul into every painting, and any artist will tell you that the worst nightmare of all is to have your work destroyed.
I am not angry but disappointed that I wasn't told that it was being removed. People were e-mailing me and calling, wanting an explanation, and I didn't know what to tell them except someone else had bought the building. And that's all I can say.
I only wanted to address the fans and to say thanks to the previous owners and Damon L. Patterson for letting us use the space, and letting the fans of MJ pay their final respects. I wish the new owners of the property all the best. No love lost.
R.I.P. KING OF POP! Thanks for the magic."