Manager and Jackson family patriarch Joe Jackson died Wednesday at the age of 89, The Associated Press has confirmed.
Jackson, the father of 11, including music icons Michael and Janet, had been hospitalized for the last few weeks due to terminal pancreatic cancer.
Jackson’s first experience with the music business was in the ’50s, when he sang and played guitar with the Chicago-based blues band the Falcons. He would enjoy much more success managing The Jackson 5, which featured the talents of his young sons Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Michael, and which he groomed for success when its members were still children. “My wife and I would fight, because I invested in new instruments that cost so much,” Jackson told Rolling Stone in 1971. “When a woman’s a good mother and finds all the money going into instruments, she doesn’t like it.”
In 1969, Jackson negotiated a deal for the quintet with Motown. The result was a string of huge hits including “I Want You Back,” “ABC,” “I’ll Be There” and the Michael Jackson solo release “Ben.” In 1975, Joe Jackson oversaw a new deal for the band—now renamed The Jacksons—with Epic Records, the label for which Michael would ultimately record the massively successful albums Off the Wall, Thriller, Bad, and Dangerous. Joe Jackson also represented his daughters La Toya, Rebbie, and Janet, the latter of whom he asked to join the Jacksons’ traveling nightclub show when she was just seven. He would later negotiate a deal for Janet with A&M Records, the company responsible for releasing the hit albums Control and Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814.
Over time, Jackson’s famous offspring sought representation elsewhere and their father became a controversial figure as allegations emerged about the way he had treated them when they were young. In a 1993 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Michael said his father had beaten him. In 2013, Jackson appeared on CNN show Piers Morgan Tonight and claimed to have no regrets about the way he raised his children. “I’m glad I was tough, because look what I came out with,” he said. “I came out with some kids that everybody loved all over the world. And they treated everybody right.”
Jackson’s grandson Randy Jackson Jr. was among the first to pay tribute, writing on twitter, “RIP to the king that made everything possible!!! I love you grandpa.” Daughter LaToya also shared a tribute, saying, “You gave us strength, you made us one of the most famous families in the world. I am extremely appreciative of that, I will never forget our moments together and how you told me how much you cared,” she wrote in part.
See their tweets below.