Michael Jackson’s father Joe Jackson has died aged 89, just days after being hospitalized with stage four-pancreatic cancer.
Joe Jackson passed away on Wednesday at the age of 89.
Joe was being treated in Las Vegas as recently as last week, but TMZ reports that he passed away in Los Angeles at around 3:30am with his wife Katherine by his side.
It was later confirmed that he had in fact died while in hospice care in Las Vegas.
Jackson and his wife had been living apart for the past few years following a tumultuous 69-year relationship during which Jackson fathered a love child, had multiple affairs and was accused of abusing the couple’s children.
The music manager and father to 11 children, including pop superstar Michael and Janet Jackson, was being cared for in a hospital in Las Vegas. Jackson was said to be in the final stages of terminal cancer. He had previously suffered a stroke in São Paulo in 2015, along with a number of heart attacks. His grandson, Taj Jackson, confirmed the news on Twitter.
His fourth child, Jermaine, told the Daily Mail before Jackson’s death that his father had attempted to prevent visits from his family, withholding information about his location and diagnosis. They were permitted to see him on 19 June. “No one knew what was going on,” said Jackson. “We shouldn’t have to beg, plead and argue to see our own father, especially at a time like this. We have been hurting.”
On 24 June, Joe Jackson appeared to tweet from his personal account: “I have seen more sunsets than I have left to see. The sun rises when the time comes and whether you like it or not the sun sets when the time comes.” The tweet was accompanied by a photograph of Jackson looking at the horizon.
However, Paris Jackson, Michael’s daughter, tweeted her doubts that it had come from her grandfather: “This is a beautiful tweet. Though it upsets me to see whoever is in charge of this account taking advantage of it. My grandfather did not tweet this. I’m not sure if he’s ever used this account.”
Michael Jackson’s family has also released a statement:
“We are deeply saddened by Mr. Jackson’s passing and extend our heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Katherine Jackson and the family,” said John Branca and John McClain, co-executors of the estate. “Joe was a strong man who acknowledged his own imperfections and heroically delivered his sons and daughters from the steel mills of Gary, Indiana to worldwide pop superstardom.”
Joe Jackson’s legacy is the shaping and promotion of the Jackson 5, comprising his sons Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael, and later Randy. The young family band from Gary, Indiana, became a phenomenon in the late 1960s and 70s, with their first four singles, I Want You Back in 1969, and ABC, The Love You Save and I’ll Be There in 1970, topping the Billboard charts.
But Jackson’s legacy is also one of cruelty. In 2003, he told the BBC that he whipped Michael as a child. In 2010, he told Oprah Winfrey that he beat his children with a strap and didn’t regret doing so. “It kept them out of jail and kept them right,” he said. In the 2003 ITV documentary Living With Michael Jackson, the singer told interviewer Martin Bashir that his father would oversee the Jackson 5’s intense rehearsals “with a belt in his hand” and “tear you up, really get you” if one of the brothers missed a step.
“I just remember hearing my mother scream, ‘Joe you’re gonna kill him, you’re gonna kill him, stop it,’” Michael recalled. “I was so fast he couldn’t catch me half the time, but when he would catch me, oh my god it was bad, it was really bad.” Michael also said his father would taunt him about his “fat nose”, and later told Winfrey he was so afraid of his father that he would sometimes vomit when he saw him. In 1979, Michael fired his father as his manager and took control of his career himself. The rest of the Jackson 5 followed suit in 1983.