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11 years on: Remembering Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson died of cardiac arrest on June 25th 2009. Photo: Cliff Schiappa/AP

11 years on: Remembering Michael Jackson 

June 25th marks the 11th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death, and even though it has been more than a decade since the King of Pop passed away, he is still shrouded in mystery.

One of the aspects of his life that has been an ongoing topic of discussion is his religion.

Michael Jackson was born in 1958 in Gary, Indiana to Katherine and Joe Jackson, who were Jehovah’s Witnesses. They raised all of their nine kids in the religion, meaning that no birthdays were ever celebrated in the family home.

In 1987, when Michael Jackson was on everyone’s lips after having released the mega-sellers “Off the Wall,” “Thriller” and “Bad,” he left Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Back then, his mother stated that it could have something to do with some Witnesses opposing the “Thriller” music video, where Michael Jackson dances with zombies.

The King of Pop actually tried to prevent causing an outrage with the video by putting a disclaimer at the beginning of “Thriller” saying, “Due to my strong personal convictions, I wish to stress that this film in no way endorses a belief in the occult.”

Thriller disclaimer
The disclaimer at the beginning of the “Thriller” video.

“God keeps talking to me”

Since then, Michael Jackson has been rumored to be in connection with Christianity, Islam and Kabbalah, a school of thought in Jewish mysticism.

On numerous occasions, he has spoken about God, Jesus and cited Bible verses.

“But I will never stop helping and loving people the way Jesus said to,” he, for instance, said during an interview with 60 Minutes in 2003.

When talking about songwriting, he also once touched upon God.

“I feel guilty having to put my name, sometimes, on the songs that I… I do write them. I compose them, I write them, I do the scoring, I do the lyrics, I do the melodies but still, it is a work of God,” he said.

Just days before the pop star’s death in 2009, he told his tour director that God kept talking to him.

Michael Jackson Hollywood Boulevard
Michael Jackson is the third-best-selling artist of all times after The Beatles and Elvis Presley.

Michael, the philanthropist

Though he might not have been a Christian throughout his whole life, he continued doing good deeds as the Bible prompts.

Michael Jackson is not only known for being one of the best-selling artists of all time and the man behind the best-selling album in history, “Thriller.” During his life, he also did a lot of humanitarian work.

On his “Bad World Tour” in 1987-1989, Michael Jackson visited a lot of orphanages and hospitals in the cities he came by to give presents, take pictures with the kids and give them autographs. He also left donations worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to some of the hospitals.

Furthermore, he has reportedly donated more than $300 million to various foundations throughout his life, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation, UNICEF, the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and the Red Cross.

In 2000, Guinness Book of World Records named him the most philanthropic pop star in history.

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