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Jackson children "fantastic": grandfather

world Updated: Jun 28, 2009 12:30 IST

AFP
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Michael Jackson's three children are in "fantastic" shape at the family's compound in Los Angeles, the musical clan's patriarch Joe Jackson said on Saturday.

The King of Pop was survived by three children--Prince Michael, 12, Paris, 11, and Prince Michael II, 7--when he collapsed and died on Thursday.

In a brief interview with Fox News aired late Saturday, Joe Jackson said that the children were "fantastic."

They "are enjoying themselves with the other kids," he told the network's talk-show host Geraldo Rivera.

Joe Jackson also dismissed the notion that stress killed Michael Jackson as the 50-year-old prepared for a grueling 50-concert comeback in London.

"No, it did not," he said of stress.

"We're going to miss the great superstar, the biggest known in the world," he said.

Jackson's former wife of three years Debbie Rowe is the mother of the two eldest children, while the third was born in 2002 to a surrogate whose identity has never been made public.

There were conflicting reports over whether Rowe, who separated from Jackson in October 1999, had already signed away her parental rights.

But under the law, she stands a good chance to secure custody of the elder two children as she is the biological mother, experts say.

Michael Jackson was fiercely protective of his children, who rarely appeared in public without their faces cloaked.

Joe Jackson, 79, was a steelworker in Gary, Indiana where he groomed his nine children into a musical sensation.

Michael Jackson had a complicated relationship with his father, who has acknowledged that he would whip him as a boy when he missed a note.