Joe Jackson, Father of Michael Jackson and Jackson Family Patriarch, Is Dead

Joe Jackson
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Joe Jackson
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Photo: Georges Biard (CC by 3.0)

Joe Jackson, father of Michael Jackson and patriarch of the Jackson family, has died at 89.

His legacy will forever be a complicated one, much like the Jackson family itself.  Earlier today, Jackson patriarch Joe Jackson passed away at 89 following cancer-related complications.

A Jackson family source confirmed the death earlier this morning.  Joe Jackson had been in critical condition for the past few weeks, and has survived numerous scares over the years.  This time, it was understood that the Jackson patriarch was suffering from terminal cancer that had progressed into a very late stage.

Strangely, Joe Jackson’s death comes almost exactly 9 years after the passing of his son, Michael Jackson.  The King of Pop passed away on June 25th, 2009 following an overdose of propofol mixed with a cocktail of other sedatives and medications.

Joe Jackson, along with wife Katherine, fathered 10 Jackson children.  That includes — of course — all five members of the Jackson 5, along with four daughters.  Brandon Jackson, a seventh son, died shortly after childbirth in 1957.  Joe fathered another daughter, Joh’Vonnie, with another woman.

Joe Jackson is famous for organizing his sons into the Jackson 5, originally called the ‘Jackson Brothers’.  From the humble streets of Gary, Indiana, Joe Jackson groomed the 60s-era ‘boy band’ into a serious commercial success, with Motown quickly inking the group to a deal.

That fairy tale story is anything but, with Joe remembered as a stern, money-driven taskmaster.

That attitude led to great commercial successes, with the group spinning hits like “ABC,” “I Want You Back,” “The Love You Save” and “I’ll Be There.”  Janet and Michael Jackson subsequently developed incredibly successful solo careers, though Michael’s adulthood quickly became a scary freak show.

Perhaps amplified by super fame, Michael ultimately devolved into a bizarre cocoon inside Neverland, while battling endless accusations of criminal pedophilia.

Ultimately, Michael Jackson succumbed to drug addiction, administered by an complicit personal doctor.  Whether Joe’s heavy-handed oversight of the Jackson 5 and Michael Jackson’s solo career is to blame for that is unclear, though Michael often complained of never experiencing a genuine childhood.

In perhaps a deeply telling moment, Joe Jackson was immediately hawking copies of an upcoming Jackson DVD during Michael Jackson’s funeral.