Joe Jackson, Patriarch of the Jackson Family, Dead at 89

Joe Jackson, the blue-collar steelworker who relentlessly moulded five of his sons into a singing group sensation and later defended his superstar son Michael in the face of shocking allegations, has died at the age of 89.

Jackson died at 2:55 a.m. on Wednesday at Nathan Adelson Hospice in Las Vegas, Clark County coroner John Fudenberg told The Associated Press.

​”We are reviewing the circumstances surrounding the death, but there is no reason to believe it’s anything other than a natural death,” Fudenberg said.

Jackson, who had been based in Las Vegas and had been estranged from much of his family, had been suffering from cancer, according to U.S. media reports.

Michael Jackson’s estate released a statement mourning the death.

“We are deeply saddened by Mr. Jackson’s passing and extend our heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Katherine Jackson and the family. 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,” said John Branca and John McClain, co-executors of the estate.

Jackson was “certainly an amazing ringmaster” to be able to propel his children to stardom, but his legacy is marked by controversy, said Ian Halperin, author of The Final Years of Michael Jackson.

“His life was marked in extreme controversy — allegations of womanizing, child abuse, almost every allegation you could ever hear was associated with Joe Jackson. So his legacy will certainly be controversial, but he will be remembered probably first and foremost as one of the greatest impresarios ever in show business,” Halperin said.

Struggling to support nine children with his wife Katherine in a two-bedroom house in Gary, Ind., while working in steel mills and on farms, Jackson first helped steer his boys as performers, as they landed a record contract with hitmaker Motown, the label’s last star act of its golden era in Detroit.

The Jackson Five would top the charts with each of their first four singles in 1970-71: I Want You Back, ABC, The Love You Save and I’ll Be There. More pop and R & B hits followed, and the group would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.

Like Michael, Jackson’s youngest child Janet would achieve superstar status as a solo artist.

Jackson was predeceased by two of his 10 children with Katherine — an infant who died in the late 1950s, and Michael, who died in 2009 of an accidental drug overdose as he was preparing a comeback tour.

His relationship with his son, the King of Pop, was often fraught. The singer said in more than one interview he feared and couldn’t understand his father.

For his part, Jackson admitted to the BBC he “whipped [Michael] with a switch and a belt,” and several of his other children described growing up with a taskmaster.

Janet, the youngest child and a music superstar in her own right, seemed to have made peace with her stern father in recent years, telling CNN in a 2011 interview that he “means well.”

“I just think the way he went about certain things wasn’t the best,” she said.

It was reported earlier this month that Jackson was gravely ill. Receiving a community award on June 22, Janet thanked “my incredible father,” saying he, “drove me to be the best I can.”



Photo: Leon Bennett/Getty Images for BET

Posted in All Stories, Steve Adams Tagged with: , ,

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