Wednesday 21 February 2018

Tragedy of a life and death under the spotlight

Sherna Noah

Michael Jackson's music and his unconventional life captivated millions.

The star had his first taste of showmanship at the age of just five.

Before his sudden death at 50, he was preparing to return to the spotlight.

But in the intervening years it was Jackson's private life that grabbed headlines.

Jackson began his career as a child in family group The Jackson 5. He would later speak of being deprived of a childhood.

In 1979, Jackson made an impact with his solo album 'Off The Wall' and his success rocketed.

'Thriller', in 1982, became the world's bestselling album of all time. As his success grew, so did the number of stories about the King of Pop's bizarre life.

Rumours surfaced that the star had undergone radical plastic surgery.

Jackson had a history of health problems. He maintained he suffered from vitiligo, a skin condition that leaves white patches.


Questions about the health of the star would never go away.

Jackson released Bad, with the hits 'Dirty Diana' and 'Smooth Criminal', in 1987 and the album Dangerous in 1991.

His next album of entirely new material, Invincible in 2001, did not match his earlier success.

By then, Jackson had paid millions of dollars out of court to the family of 13-year-old Jordan Chandler, who claimed he was sexually abused by Jackson. The star always denied the claims.

Another scandal erupted after a 2003 TV interview with Martin Bashir. A warrant was issued for Jackson's arrest on charges of sexually molesting 12-year-old Gavin Arvizo.

He pleaded not guilty to the allegations and was cleared of all the charges.

Jackson married twice. After his second divorce he took on sole responsibility for the upbringing of his children. His third child was born in 2002 to a mystery surrogate mother.

Jackson died on June 25, 2009. Paramedics dashed to the singer's home after he stopped breathing.

In death, as in life, Jackson's private world has threatened to eclipse his musical achievements.

Irish Independent

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