Joseph Jackson died June 26, 2018, after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 89.
Michael Jackson's Father Joseph Jackson, Pop-Music Patriarch, Dies At 89
The patriarch of the most celebrated family in music, Joseph’s legacy has always been uncomfortable. The phenomenon of The Jackson 5, the staggering heights achieved by Michael Jackson and the iconic success of Janet Jackson—none of it would have been possible without the vision of a frustrated steel worker who saw star potential in his kids. But the way that Jackson built his children into music royalty cost them so much of their emotional and psychological well-being—with Michael being the most significant example of what it means to be the pop-star child of Joe Jackson: preternaturally gifted, supremely successful, and tragically tortured.
His relationship with his children was that of a domineering dictator. He drove the work ethic of the young Jackson 5 with intense practices while also serving as their business advisor and manager. In the early days, that meant Joe landing them a deal with Motown—but also led to Joe having the prescience to fight to leave the label after things took a turn in 1975.
His hand in their careers was always obvious, but it was also clear that his children wanted