Washington: Joseph Jackson, the strong, fearsome patriarch of the musical Jackson family, has died, according to a person close to the family.
The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to discuss the topic publicly, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Jackson died but had no additional information. He was 89.
Jackson was a guitarist who put his own musical ambitions aside to work in the steel mills to support his wife and nine children in Gary, Indiana. But he far surpassed his own dreams through his children, particularly his exceptionally gifted seventh child, Michael.
Fronted by the then-pint-sized wonder and brothers Jermaine, Marlon, Tito and Jackie, the Jackson 5 was an instant sensation in 1969 and became the first phase of superstardom for the Jackson family. Over the following decades, millions would listen to both group and solo recordings by the Jackson 5 (who later became known as The Jacksons) and Michael would become one of the most popular entertainers in history. Michael Jackson’s estate released a statement mourning the death.
“We are deeply saddened by Mr. Jackson’s passing and extend our heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Katherine Jackson and the family. Joe was a strong man who acknowledged his own imperfections and heroically delivered his sons and daughters from the steel mills of Gary, Indiana to worldwide pop superstardom,” said John Branca and John McClain, co-executors of the estate.
“Papa Joe,” as he would become known, ruled through his stern, intimidating and unflinching presence, which became so indelible it was part of black popular culture, even referenced in song and on TV.
“This is bad, real bad Michael Jackson, Now I’m mad, real mad Joe Jackson,” Kanye West rhymed in Keri Hilson’s 2009 hit, “Knock You Down.”