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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A spokesman for Michael Jackson released a statement on Monday denying as a "total fabrication" a report claiming that the former King of Pop needs a lung transplant due to a rare respiratory disease.
The statement, attributed to Jackson's "official and sole spokesperson, Dr. Tohme Tohme" and issued by Los Angeles firm Scoop Marketing, cites an interview with writer Ian Halperin in British newspaper the Sunday Express in which Halperin said Jackson was suffering from Alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency.
Halperin, who is at work on an unauthorized biography of the singer, also claims Jackson can barely speak, suffers from emphysema and internal bleeding, and has lost 95 percent of the vision in his left eye.
"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,'" said the statement attributed to Tohme.
"The writer's wild allegations concerning Mr. Jackson's health are a total fabrication," the statement said. "Mr. Jackson is in fine health and finalizing negotiations with a major entertainment company and television network for both a world tour and a series of specials and appearances."
Jackson, 50, one of the best-selling recording artists of all time, began his musical career with his siblings in the Motown group the Jackson 5 and went on release such hit solo albums as "Thriller."
But the singer has been dogged since the 1990s by scandal and revelations about his eccentric lifestyle. He was tried and acquitted of child sex abuse charges in 2005.
Reporting by Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Steve Gorman