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Joe Jackson, the father of Michael, Janet and their eight siblings and the architect of the Jackson 5, has died, Tito Jackson’s agent confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 89.
Family sources told TMZ that Jackson died early Wednesday morning in Los Angeles reportedly following a battle with cancer. The outlet previously reported June 22 that Joe Jackson had been battling cancer “for some time” but it was “at the end stages” and could not “be treated.”
“Joe was loved by our ENTIRE family and our hearts are in pain,” Taj Jackson, who is Joe’s grandson, said in part Wednesday morning on social media. Another grandson, Randy Jackson Jr., also paid tribute on Twitter: “RIP to the king that made everything possible!!! I love you grandpa.”
RIP to the king that made everything possible!!! I love you grandpa pic.twitter.com/SI1C7lUuG6
— RANDY JACKSON (@randyjacksonjr) June 27, 2018
Tweeted daughter La Toya Jackson: “I will always love you! You gave us strength, you made us one of the most famous families in the world. I am extremely appreciative of that, I will never forget our moments together and how you told me how much you cared. #RIP Joe Jackson.”
On June 22, at the Radio Disney Awards, where she was honored with the Impact Award, daughter Janet Jackson paid tribute to her dad after news broke of his terminal condition. “My mother [Katherine] nourished me with the most extravagant love imaginable, my father, my incredible father, drove me to be the best that I can,” she said.
Born July 26, 1928, in Arkansas, Joe married wife Katherine in 1949 and they had 10 children together: sons Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, Brandon (Marlon’s twin, who died shortly after birth), Michael and Randy; and daughters Rebbie, La Toya and Janet. He also has another daughter, Joh’Vonnie Jackson, with Cheryl Terrell, with whom he reportedly had a 25-year affair.
Joe began working on his kids’ musical careers in the early 1960s, while they were living in Gary, Indiana, bringing Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael into what would eventually become the Jackson 5. Forcing them into intense rehearsal sessions, and after performances in talent competitions and small venues, Joe ultimately booked them at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, after which they landed their first deal with a recording label. After first single “Big Boy” became a local hit, the group was signed to Motown Records in 1969 and garnered a series of record-breaking hits, including “I Want You Back,” “ABC,” “The Love You Save” and “I’ll Be There.”
Joe, who eventually moved the family to California as their careers were taking off, also formed his own record label, Ivory Tower International Records, signing artists who would serving as the opening acts for the Jackson 5 while they were on tour.
In addition to Michael, who eventually broke out on his own to become one of the top-selling singers of all time, Joe made a superstar out of daughter Janet, paying for her first demo and going on to oversee her debut album.
While Joe made stars out of his kids, he also had a rocky relationship with them. Over the years, there were numerous reports of emotional and physical abuse, including accusations by the children themselves, including Michael. In a 2010 interview with Oprah Winfrey, he admitted that he hit his children with a strap and had no regrets over doing so: “It kept them out of jail and kept them right.”
Joe’s death comes two days after the ninth anniversary of Michael’s death on June 25, 2009, and the latter’s death was attributed to a fatal cocktail of medications. The singer’s physician, Conrad Murray, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
Of Michael, Joe told Winfrey in 2010: “I don’t think he was afraid of me. What he was afraid of, he may do something wrong and I’d chastise him but not beat him. I never beat him like the media tried to say.”
Joe is survived by wife Katherine; sons Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Randy; and daughters Rebbie, La Toya and Janet. He was preceded in death by son Michael, in 2009, and son Brandon in 1957.
Granddaughter and daughter of Michael, Paris Jackson, later paid tribute on Instagram, recalling her final moments with Joe Jackson. “Spending those last few moments with you were everything,” she wrote, in part. “Being able to tell you everything I needed to tell you before saying goodbye was such a blessing. everyone that came to visit you, came with love, respect, and so much pride in their hearts for you. Proud of you, proud to be your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, proud to have your strength and share the dynasty you spent your life creating, and proud to be a Jackson.” Read her full post below.
RIP The HAWK. Joseph Jackson. spending those last few moments with you were everything. being able to tell you everything i needed to tell you before saying goodbye was such a blessing. everyone that came to visit you, came with love, respect, and so much pride in their hearts for you. proud of you, proud to be your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, proud to have your strength and share the dynasty you spent your life creating, and proud to be a jackson. you are the first true jackson. the legend that started it all. none of us would be anywhere near where we’re at if it weren’t for you. you are the strongest man i know. your life’s work will go down in history, as will you, to be known as one of the greatest patriarchs to ever live. i will cherish every moment with you til the day i die, especially our last moments. being able to hold your hand, lay with you and cuddle you, give you kisses all over your cheeks and forehead, meant more to me than you’ll ever know. quoting advice you gave me when i was a little kid and seeing your eyes light up, sharing stories my dad used to tell me about you, telling a joke and hearing you laugh for the last time.. my heart is full knowing we left each other in that way. i made you promise me you’ll come visit me. you agreed and i’m going to hold you to it. and i promised you that we will keep telling your story, over and over. to never be forgotten. my great grandchildren will know who joseph jackson is. i love you grandpa. so so so much that words can’t describe. i have immense gratitude for you, and always will. we all feel that way. thank you for everything. truly. rest in peace and transition. i’ll see you in my dreams very very soon.
A post shared by Paris-Michael K. Jackalope (@parisjackson) on
June 29, 7:15 a.m. Updated with Paris Jackson post.
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Portia de Rossi
James Gordon Meek