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Jermaine wishes he had died instead

"I held myself together, because I know he is very much alive, his spirit is. I kissed him on his forehead and I hugged him and I touched him", says Jermaine Jackson.

entertainment Updated: Jul 03, 2009 17:35 IST

The star has been left devastated by the passing of his superstar sibling last week, revealing the pain of saying goodbye was "unreal".

He told US TV programme Today Show: "I wanted to see Michael, and I wanted to see my brother, and seeing him lifeless and breathless was very emotional for me. "I held myself together, because I know he is very much alive, his spirit is. I kissed him on his forehead and I hugged him and I touched him and I said, 'Michael, I'll never leave you, you'll never leave me.'

"He went too soon. I wish that it was me. I've always felt that I was his backbone, someone to be there for him. I was there and he was sort of like Moses. The things he couldn't say, I would say them."

Jermaine revealed hearing his mother Katherine Jackson tell Michael had died was one of the hardest moments of his life. He said: "She was crying, saying he was dead. And to hear my mother saying Michael is dead, to feel and hear the tone of her voice to say her child is dead - it's nothing that anyone can ever imagine."

Jermaine also expressed his disappointment that Michael won't be buried at Neverland, his former home in Santa Barbara. The 54-year-old star said in the interview at the property: "This is his home, I feel his presence. He built this place with love, you can see it and feel it. Look at it here, it's peaceful here. This meant wonderment, the ultimate happiness."

Jermaine voiced his support for his 79-year-old mother, who has been given temporary custody of Michael's three children - Prince Michael, 12, Paris, 11, and seven-year-old Prince Michael II.

He said: "She's capable, she's up for it. She's with the grandchildren all the time. She loves laughter and the crying and all the excitement. She would have someone with her to make sure she's doing the right things. My mother is the perfect person to be with them."

Jermaine insists Michael was physically fit enough to undertake a 50-date comeback residency in London later this month - despite speculation the rehearsals had left him exhausted and underweight.

He said: "I do believe and I do know that Mike is very strong, not just mentally but physically. He's a dancer, he never stopped dancing. He was already ready physically. He passed the physical, he was strong - he was ready."