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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Dec 2014

Michael Jackson spent last days lonely, paranoid: book

PTI  New Delhi, June 16, 2014
First Published: 16:44 IST(16/6/2014) | Last Updated: 16:56 IST(16/6/2014)

Michael Jackson was a complicated human who gave millions to charity and brightened lives with his talent, but also struggled with personal pain, says a book by two bodyguards who were with the singer in the last years of his life.

Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard, record their experiences as the only gatekeepers between his family and world outside, spending time daily with the King of Pop for close to three years till he died of an anesthesia overdose in 2009.



By writing Remember the Time: Protecting Michael Jackson In His Final Days, the duo say they wanted the world to see a glimpse of the good man and the wonderful father they had the privilege of serving.

Whitfield, who was previously head of security for rapper Sean Combs, writes Mr Jackson trusted no one.

"The man was paranoid. Didn't sleep much. He was always going around the house at three, four in the morning, checking the locks on all the doors," says Whitfield.

The bodyguard writes that even Jackson's father and siblings had to make appointments to meet him and nobody could get into the singer's house unannounced with the exception of Katherine Jackson, his mother.

Read: AR Rahman's music school creates Indian version Michael Jackson's songs

"Except for letters from fans and occasional visits from his mother he was just alone with his kids inside this little bubble," says Beard in the book published by Harper Collins and co-written by Tanner Colby.

Jackson made his children - Prince, Paris and Blanket-the sole focus of his day-to-day life and concentrated on shielding them from media's harsh glare.

He used a variety of disguises like wearing a motorcycle helmet and leathers and even wearing bandages on his face.

He home schooled his children and kept his children's faces covered with masks and veils when in public. "The tabloids said it was weird and crazy but they didn't understand the reason. If no one knew what his children looked like they could occasionally go out in public places without him and have a somewhat normal experience," says Whitfield.

Michael Jackson was devastated by allegations of child molestation and sexual abuse, says Beard.

After the singer was acquitted in 2005 he left Neverland, his self-made sanctuary in California but the huge publicity the trial generated left him a broken man. "I'm a father myself and I wouldn't have worked for him if I'd had any doubt. He wouldn't hurt a fly," Javon adds.

The Boss, as Whitefield and Beard called Jackson, had a phenomenal fan following, which made it difficult for him to do ordinary things like go out shopping.

He had to go after store hours and usually dropped huge amounts of money on toys and books and would sometimes buy everything in the shops.


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