Patriarch of Jackson family says he doubts stress of concerts sickened King of PopBy Nekesa Mumbi Moody, AP
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Jackson father doubts concert stress sickened star
LOS ANGELES — The father of Michael Jackson says he does not believe stress over the intense series of concerts the King of Pop planned for his comeback led to his death.
Joe Jackson also said in an interview airing Sunday that he believes his son will be larger in death than he was in life. The patriarch of the Jackson 5 said he wished Michael Jackson were around to see the outpouring of affection since his death.
“Michael was the biggest superstar in the world and in history,” Joe Jackson told Fox News Channel’s “Geraldo at Large.” ”He was loved by everybody, whether poor or wealthy or whatever may be.”
Michael Jackson was to begin a strenuous series of 50 concerts in London in July.
Three days after the pop icon died, celebrities descended on Los Angeles for what promised to be a spectacular celebration of Jackson’s life at the annual BET awards show.
Media requests for the Sunday night show doubled following the death, and the red carpet was lengthened. It was not immediately clear whether any members of the Jackson family, who gathered at their Encino compound over the weekend, planned to take part.
Previously announced performers including Beyonce and Ne-Yo, were working to overhaul performances they had planned for weeks so they could honor Jackson. Other stars who had not planned to attend, including Usher and Justin Timberlake, tried to catch last-minute flights, producers said.
On Saturday, the cardiologist who was with Jackson during his final moments sat down with investigators for three hours. His spokeswoman said he is not a suspect in the death.
Dr. Conrad Murray “helped identify the circumstances around the death of the pop icon and clarified some inconsistencies,” spokeswoman Miranda Sevcik said. She said the doctor remains “a witness to this tragedy.”
Police confirmed they had interviewed Murray and said he was cooperative.
Meanwhile, Jackson’s mother selected a lawyer who represented Jackson last year in a breach-of-contract suit and has advised other high-profile clients to help the family, said a person who requested anonymity because the matter is private.
The legal move came as the Rev. Jesse Jackson revealed that Michael Jackson’s family wanted a second, private autopsy of the pop superstar because of unanswered questions about how he died.
“It’s abnormal,” Jesse Jackson said from Chicago a day after visiting the Jackson family. “We don’t know what happened. Was he injected and with what? All reasonable doubt should be addressed.”
A private pathologist hired by the Jackson family completed the second autopsy Saturday, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing unnamed people familiar with the case.
A second autopsy can allow the family to get some information about a death almost immediately, including signs of heart, brain or lung disease or fresh needle punctures, said Dr. Michael Baden, a medical examiner not involved in the Jackson case.
“Usually if it looks normal with the naked eye, it looks normal under the microscope,” said Baden, who recently performed a second autopsy on actor David Carradine.
Los Angeles County coroner’s officials completed their autopsy on Jackson on Friday and said there was no indication of trauma or foul play. But because of additional tests, an official cause of death could take weeks to determine.
People close to Jackson have said since his death that they were concerned about his use of painkillers. Los Angeles County medical examiners completed their autopsy Friday and said Jackson had taken prescription medication.
There was no word from the Jackson family on funeral plans. Many of Jackson’s relatives have gathered at the family’s Encino compound, caring there for Jackson’s three children.
It remains unclear whom Jackson designated as potential guardians for his children. Those details, likely contained in the 50-year-old singer’s will, have not been released.
An attorney for Deborah Rowe, the mother of Jackson’s two oldest children, issued a statement Saturday asking that the Jackson family “be able to say goodbye to their loved one in peace.”
A White House adviser said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that President Barack Obama had written to the Jackson family to express his condolences.
Associated Press writers Anthony McCartney; Sophia Tareen in Chicago; Juan A. Lozano in Houston; and Gillian Flaccus, Brooke Donald, Beth Harris and Mike Blood and AP Global Media Services Production Manager Nico Maounis in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
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