Page last updated at 13:25 GMT, Saturday, 26 September 2009 14:25 UK

Jackson 'didn't want to grow old'

Michael Jackson
Jackson's comments were made in tapes recorded nine years ago

A new book based on taped interviews with Michael Jackson reveals the star thought he looked like "a lizard" and "didn't want to grow old".

The Michael Jackson Tapes, written by the star's former adviser Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, provides first-hand detail about the reclusive singer's life.

In one conversation, Jackson says: "I don't want to grow old. I never want to look in the mirror and see that."

The star died in June, aged 50. His death is being treated as homicide.

Speaking to US TV show Today on Friday, Rabbi Boteach said his overwhelming impression of the star had been one of "indescribable pain".

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

Rabbi Boteach recorded 30 hours of interviews with Jackson nine years ago. The tapes reveal the star talking about about his fear of aging, and being hit with an electric cord by his father.

I would like some way to disappear where people don't see me any more at some point
Michael Jackson

"He was rough," the star says. "The way he would beat you, you know, was hard.

"He would make you strip nude first. He would oil you down. It would be a whole ritual. He would oil you down so when the flip of the ironing cord hit you, you know... it was just like dying."

"I used to get so angry at him," Jackson continues.

"I would just go in my room and just scream out of anger because I didn't understand how a person could be so vicious and mean."

Ken Sunshine, a spokesman for the Jackson family, said after the tapes were broadcast: "We will not dignify this with a comment."

In another conversation released by Rabbi Boteach, the star can be heard saying: "I don't want to be seen now, because I am like a lizard. It is horrible."

"I would like some way to disappear where people don't see me any more at some point."

'Higher cause'

Rabbi Boteach is an orthodox Jewish rabbi who has written self-help books with names like Shalom in the Home and Kosher Sex.

The latter book, which encouraged Jews to have more sex, was publicly criticised and the rabbi was forced to resign from the synagogue where he preached in Willesden, north London.

Uri Geller, Michael Jackson and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
Jackson with Uri Geller (left) and Rabbi Boteach (right) in 2001

He was introduced to Jackson in 1999 by entertainer Uri Geller and acted as his confidant for many years, helping to establish the star's Heal The Kids initiative.

Their conversations were taped with an eye to giving the public a more accurate image of the pop star.

Rabbi Boteach said he became disillusioned with the book - originally set for release in 2003 - after Jackson failed to adhere to recovery programmes they had worked out for his public image and private self.

On the Today programme, he insisted that Jackson would still have wanted the tapes to be released.

"He did all this because he wanted to consecrate his fame to a higher cause."



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