Leaked autopsy reports reveal that at the time of his death, Michael Jackson was disfigured, emaciated and riddled with needles, stomach empty but for semi-digested pills. His ex-wife now claims that he wasn’t even the father of their children. He was neck-deep in debt and lay forgotten in a hotel, starving and broken. For all the pelvic thrusts, the shiny black shoes gliding silkily across our TV screens over and over again, the ‘Thriller’s and ‘Smooth Criminal’s, is that all we could give to him? Forget the King of Pop, forget the Dancing Legend. If there’s anyone whose loss we should be mourning, it’s Michael Jackson – the man who gave us 40 of his 50 preciously short years on Earth and got so much little in return.11 years of childhood was all he was allowed before he was thrust onto the stage by his over-ambitious father. There was no looking back after that. Music records, screaming fans and awards pushed him to dizzying heights. And then, just as suddenly, child molestation charges, gossip columns and dipping record sales sent him reeling down with a force that shattered him and from which he was never to recover. As long as he was alive, we tended to always see him as a “public figure”, to be applauded as long as he kept us entertained but to be crushed completely under a torrent of insults and criticism at the slightest indication of faltering. It’s only now, when it’s too late, that we realise he was human. It’s only now that we remember how disease and surgery may have transformed him, but what never quite changed was the warm glitter in his eyes and the shy softness of his voice.
For some, Michael Jackson died a long time ago when his music stopped creating records and controversies was all that kept him in the spotlight. But for a large majority of people, he is alive still and will continue to live forevermore. Not only through TV and internet, but through throats raw from trying to produce that perfect “ow!” and through worn shoes that never quite managed to get the moon-walk right. MJ is not dead because stars never die. They twinkle at us when the nights get dark, their light fading only to glow brighter. We love you, MJ!