Joe Jackson, patriarch of the legendary Jackson family, which included Michael and Janet Jackson, has died, the estate of Michael has confirmed in a statement. No cause of death was given, though he had reportedly been diagnosed with cancer.
Officially, Joe Jackson was a band manager, taking five of his sons from a locally celebrated pop vocal group in Gary, Ind., in the mid-1960s to international acclaim, acting as the launchpad to superstardom for his son Michael. Their paths, however, would be revealed through the decades as ones paved in checkers.
Joe Jackson, born in Alabama on July 26, 1928, was the eldest of six children of Samuel and Chrystal Jackson. Jackson's parents separated in 1942, leaving Joe to travel between his father in Oakland, Calif. and his mother in East Chicago, Ind., before settling in the latter.
In his early 20s, while moonlighting in a blues band with his brother Luther, Joe met Katherine Scruse, whom he would marry in November 1949. (It would be his second, following a brief marriage that was annulled.) Rebbie Jackson — the first of their 10 children — was born in 1950; Jackie in 1951; Tito in 1953; Jermaine in 1954; La Toya in 1956; Marlon in 1957; Brandon in 1957; Michael in 1958; Randy in 1961; and Janet in 1966.
In the early 1960s, Jackson was working in a steel mill when he formed — or regimented, with regular daily practice scheduled by the tempestuous family head — a band sourced from his five sons: Jermaine, Jackie, Marlon, Tito and the youngest, Michael, as its charismatic lead singer.