What You Need to Know: Joe Jackson

Joe Jackson, patriarch of Jackson family, dead at 89

According to one of his sons, Jermaine Jackson, he had been in failing healthTMZ reported that, according to unnamed family sources, he died at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday in Los Angeles. 

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Variety reported that Michael Jackson’s estate confirmed the news.

“We are deeply saddened by Mr. Jackson’s passing and extend our heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Katherine Jackson and the family,” estate co-executors John Branca and John McClain said in a statement. “We had developed a warm relationship with Joe in recent years and will miss him tremendously.”

Prince Jackson, one of Michael Jackson’s sons and a grandson of Joe Jackson, posted about the loss on Instagram.

“This man is and always will be an example of sheer willpower and dedication,” the caption read. “He didn’t choose the path that was the easiest but he choose the path that was best for his family. You taught me to take pride in the Jackson name and what it really means, you taught me dedication in the face of adversity and most of all you showed me strength and fearlessness. There is and never will be someone like you. Fly free and until we meet again The Hawk.”

Other family members, including daughter LaToya, granddaughter Paris and grandsons Taj and Randy Jackson Jr., posted about the news on Twitter.

RIP The HAWK. Joseph Jackson. spending those last few moments with you were everything. being able to tell you everything i needed to tell you before saying goodbye was such a blessing. everyone that came to visit you, came with love, respect, and so much pride in their hearts for you. proud of you, proud to be your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, proud to have your strength and share the dynasty you spent your life creating, and proud to be a jackson. you are the first true jackson. the legend that started it all. none of us would be anywhere near where we’re at if it weren’t for you. you are the strongest man i know. your life’s work will go down in history, as will you, to be known as one of the greatest patriarchs to ever live. i will cherish every moment with you til the day i die, especially our last moments. being able to hold your hand, lay with you and cuddle you, give you kisses all over your cheeks and forehead, meant more to me than you’ll ever know. quoting advice you gave me when i was a little kid and seeing your eyes light up, sharing stories my dad used to tell me about you, telling a joke and hearing you laugh for the last time.. my heart is full knowing we left each other in that way. i made you promise me you’ll come visit me. you agreed and i’m going to hold you to it. and i promised you that we will keep telling your story, over and over. to never be forgotten. my great grandchildren will know who joseph jackson is. i love you grandpa. so so so much that words can’t describe. i have immense gratitude for you, and always will. we all feel that way. thank you for everything. truly. rest in peace and transition. i’ll see you in my dreams very very soon.

A post shared by Paris-Michael K. Jackalope (@parisjackson) on

Born in Fountain Hill, Arkansas, in 1928, Joseph Walter Jackson was the oldest of five children. His parents split when he was 12 and he moved with his father to Oakland, California. His mother moved to Indiana.

Jackson he moved to Indiana at age 18 and worked to become a boxer. He married Katherine Scruse in 1949, having annulled a prior marriage to be with her. They had 10 children together.

Noticing the musical talent of many of his children, he became a talent manager for them. By 1966, The Jackson 5 formed, and the group enjoyed success. 

Throughout the marriage, according to Katherine Jackson’s 1990 autobiography, her husband committed adultery. She filed for divorce in 1973, but it was later rescinded. In 1974, Joh'Vonnie Jackson was born out of a decadeslong affair Joe Jackson had with Cheryl Terrell. Katherine Jackson would file for divorce a second time, but she never legally went through with the split.

Michael Jackson became the most notable breakout star of the family, firing his father as his manager in 1979. His brothers later fired their patriarch as their manager in 1983. 

Tabloid reports would emerge of Joe Jackson’s abusive nature with his family. By 1993, Michael Jackson appeared on the “Oprah Winfrey Show,” saying he was physically and mentally abused by his father during his childhood. The claim is disputed among the Jackson siblings.

When Michael Jackson died in 2009, he left nothing in his estate to his father.

In his later years, Joe Jackson was hospitalized for various health issues.

Joe Jackson: Through the Years

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