Skip to main content

King of Pop 'in fine health,' Jackson spokesman says

  • Story Highlights
  • UK's Sun newspaper ran report saying Jackson battles a potentially fatal disease
  • Report quoted writer Ian Halperin saying Jackson needed lung transplant
  • Jackson story was off the Sun's online front page by Monday evening
  • Next Article in Entertainment »
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Michael Jackson's publicist wants you to know that, despite a tabloid report to the contrary, the 50-year-old singer "is in fine health."

Michael Jackson's spokesman says reports of the singer's ill health "are a total fabrication."

Michael Jackson's spokesman says reports of the singer's ill health "are a total fabrication."

The United Kingdom's Sun newspaper started a stir Monday morning when it quoted the author of an upcoming book about Jackson saying he was battling a potentially fatal disease that required a life-saving lung transplant.

Other papers echoed the Sun's thinly-sourced story and the rumor spread quickly through Internet message boards.

By Monday afternoon, Jackson's spokesman issued a response that said "The writer's wild allegations concerning Mr. Jackson's health are a total fabrication."

"Mr. Jackson is in fine health, and finalizing negotiations with a major entertainment company & television network for both a world tour and a series of specials and appearances," said Dr. Tohme Tohme, identified as Jackson's "official and sole spokesperson."

The original report quoted writer Ian Halperin saying Jackson's illness had robbed him of 95-percent of the vision in one eye and that he needed a lung transplant "but may be too weak to go through with it."

Jackson's reclusive lifestyle -- and a photo earlier this year of him being pushed in a wheelchair -- created a fertile ground for the planting of the rumor.

Tohme suggested Halperin's motive was to get attention for his book about Jackson.

"Concerning this author's allegations, we would hope in the future that legitimate media will not continue to be exploited by such an obvious attempt to promote this unauthorized 'biography,'" Tohme said.

The Sun's report attempted to bolster its source's credibility by calling Halperin "an award-winning investigative journalist" who has "written for respected Rolling Stone magazine."

Halperin's biography on his publisher's Web site claimed he was the winner of the "Rolling Stone magazine Award for Investigative Journalism."

Rolling Stone magazine responded Monday afternoon by denying Halperin ever won that honor, but did note he was on a school newspaper staff in 1985 that collectively received the "College Journalism Award" from the magazine.

Halperin has made a career writing about Hollywood scandals and the trouble lives of various celebrities, often claiming to have gone undercover to penetrate their inner-circles.

The Jackson story was off the Sun's online front page by Monday evening. Instead, the paper featured a shirtless photo of President-elect Barack Obama on a Hawaii beach with the headline: "As President Elect Goes Topless, How Do World Leaders Shape Up?"

All About Michael JacksonRolling Stone LLC

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print