Jackson lost will to live, confidante says

Fri Sep 25, 2009 7:34pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Michael Jackson lost the will to live in recent years, a former close confidante said on Friday, as scores of fans camped out to be the first to see the singer's final appearance in the "This is It" movie.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, appearing on NBC's "Today" show, unveiled lengthy conversations he taped with Jackson during their 1999-2001 friendship, and said the "Thriller" singer suffered deep emotional pain.

"He lost the will to live," Boteach said. "I think he was just going through the motions of life toward the end."

Boteach also said that Jackson, who had plastic surgery several times, once confessed that he didn't want to appear in public, because he felt that he looked like a "lizard."

Jackson died in Los Angeles on June 25 of a prescription drug overdose, less three weeks before he was due to begin a series of 50 sold-out comeback shows in London.

Back in March, when Jackson visited London to announce the "This Is It" shows, he appeared in a military-style jacket and punched the air.

But the tapes collected by Boteach show Jackson to be a far less confidant man, who feared growing old and had suffered levels of loneliness and pain that the rabbi said "staggers the imagination."

"I would like some way to disappear, where people don't see me anymore at some point," Jackson said in the tapes.   Continued...

<p>Michael Jackson waves to the crowd, numbering a few thousand, gathered in front of the Sydney Opera House in this November 17, 1996 file photo.REUTERS/Megan Lewis/Files</p>