Joe Jackson, the controversial patriarch of the Jacksons, pop music's most successful family, has died at the age of 89 after a battle with cancer. Last week, his son Jermaine revealed that his father was in failing health: "He's very very frail, he doesn't have long."
Joe Jackson was father to 11 children, including Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson and the rest of the Jackson 5. He formed the group and helped lead them to unparalleled success. However, he also drew much criticism for the manner in which he raised and disciplined his children in order to achieve such lofty success.
Jackson was himself the oldest of five children, born into in a strict household ran firmly by his father Samuel Jackson, an educator, and mother, Crystal Lee King, a homemaker. At the age of 12, his parents separated and Joe went to live with his father in Oakland, Calif. When he turned 18, he moved to Chicago to live with his mother and work at a steel company.
Jackson initially wanted to be a boxer, but his life changed when he met Katherine Scruse. They married in November 1949 and a year later, purchased a home in Gary, Indiana on 2300 Jackson Street.
In the early '60s, Joe began developing his three eldest sons Jackie, Tito and Jermaine as musicians while the young siblings Michael and Marlon were performing in the background. Once he heard Michael sing, however, the line up quickly changed.
With Michael as lead vocalist and his brothers backing him up, Joe found the band he always wanted to create. Originally named The Jackson Brothers, Joe changed it to The Jackson Five and booked them at every venue he could find in Indiana.
Jackson has been criticized for being a strict disciplinarian to his sons, often beating them "with the strap." He has also been accused of emotionally abusing his children, torturing them with incessant rehearsals and bullying.
In a 2013 interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan, Joe expressed no remorse for being tough on his kids. “During the times, living in Gary, Indiana, there were a lot of gangs in the area. And I had to make sure they didn’t get into trouble,” he said.
“My kids was brought up in a way to respect people, and they was never was on drugs, they never went to jail or was in a gang. They were brought up professionally and was nice," he continued.
“I’m glad I was tough because look what I came out with,” he added. “I came out with some kids that people love all over the world and they treated everybody right.”
After the Jackson Five signed with Motown in March 1969, Jackson relocated the family to Los Angeles and supervised their group's recordings. Years later, he also assisted in molding Janet’s career. He financed her first demo recording, which helped her to get signed at A&M Records. As her manager, he supervised her debut album in 1982 and her follow-up Dream Street in 1984. However, a year later, Janet dismissed her father from his management duties and took her career into her own hands, resulting in her five-times platinum commercial breakthrough album, Control.
Although Michael spoke of being afraid of his father during his childhood, the late singer requested that he be by his side during his 2005 child-molestation trial. Their bond reportedly grew closer when Michael himself became a father of three children. However, Michael excluded his father from his estate in his final will.
Nevertheless, Joe told The Insider that he planned to oversee his son's charitable ventures for children. "It's a large venture to take on, and I'm happy to do it for him," he said. "They never recognized [Michael] for all the things he was doing when he was living, but…I'm carrying the legacy as much as I possibly can."
In the past six years, Jackson suffered a numbered of medical emergencies. In 2012, he suffered a "mild stroke" in Las Vegas but reportedly was "very good spirits" during his hospitalization.
In August 2015, he suffered another stroke while vacationing in Brazil. A year later, Joe was rushed to the hospital after having a high fever.
"We were all worried, but he's doing much better," said Jermaine at the time. "All his vital signs are great. He's just tired. We're just tryin' to hold onto him as long as we can."
Prior to his death, Joe was still married to Katherine Jackson, but they lived separately. He had a home in Las Vegas, while she wife lives in Calabasas, Calif., where she takes care of Michael Jackson's three children.
Joe is also the father of Joh’Vonnie Jackson, 43, the daughter of Cheryl Terrell, with whom he had a 25-year-long affair. Katherine filed for divorce twice but never went through with the separation.
Joe is survived by his wife Katherine and their remaining children together: Maureen, 68, Jackie, 67, Tito, 64, Jermaine, 63, La Toya, 62, Marlon, 61, Randy, 56, and Janet, 52. Michael died from an apparent cardiac arrest at age 50 on June 25, 2009.