Jackson family patriarch Joe Jackson is dead at 89. Michael Jackson’s estate confirmed the news in a statement. Although Jackson was rumored to have pancreatic cancer, a cause of death was not given.

Born on July 26, 1928, Jackson hailed from Alabama, meeting and then marrying Katherine Scruse in 1949. The couple had 10 children – Rebbie, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, La Toya, Marlon, Brandon, Michael, Randy and Janet.

In the 1960s, now residing in Gary, Ind., Jackson created The Jackson 5, the musical band made up of five of his sons – Michael, Jermaine, Jackie, Tito and Marlon. After a game-changing Apollo Theater performance in New York in 1967, the group was signed to Motown Records, headed up by Berry Gordy. Their first single, ‘I Want You Back,” went straight to No. 1 on the charts. Many hits would follow including “ABC.”

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But behind the scenes, there was trouble at home. Michael Jackson opened up to Oprah Winfrey in a 1993 interview, claiming that his father was physically and emotionally abusive, being extremely strict to keep his children in line. Though denying abuse allegations, Jackson did admit to striking his children as a form of discipline, explaining in a 2007 interview, “Yeah, I whipped my kids and back then there was nothing wrong with that. Nowadays people want to call the police on you.”

Jackson and his son Michael, dubbed the “King of Pop,” appeared to mend some fences when in 2005, Jackson stood by his son’s side when Michael went through a trial, charged with child molestation. Jackson steadfastly proclaimed his son’s innocence.

After 60 years of marriage, Jackson and Katherine split in 2010.

Jackson will undoubtedly be remembered as the driving force behind one of the most legendary musical families in history. However, that legacy will also include some uncomfortable truths about a man who perhaps pushed his children too hard, causing lasting damage, particularly to Michael.


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