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Is Michael Jackson dying?

December 22, 2008 16:11 IST

Pop music icon Michael Jackson is near death, suffering from a potentially fatal genetic disease that has affected his lungs and stripped him of vitality, Jackson-biographer Ian Halperin has claimed in a recent interview.

Speaking with the UK's Sun, Halperin has been quoted saying, 'He needs a lung transplant, but may be too weak to go through with it. He also has emphysema and chronic gastrointestinal bleeding, which his doctors have had a lot of trouble stopping. It's the bleeding that's the most problematic part. It could kill him.'

Specifically, Halperin claims that Jackson, now 50 years old, has developed a rare alpha-1 anti-trypsin protein deficiency, leaving his lungs unable to protect themselves. He also claimed Jackson, who was photographed in a wheelchair earlier this year, had been battling the disease for several years. 'He can barely speak. The vision in his left eye is 95 percent gone. For years, Michael has been working with his doctors to make sure (the disease) doesn't progress.'

Jackson's usually outspoken and stridently defensive publicist and family members have not moved to deny the claim, which in turn has only fueled speculation.

Rediff Entertainment Bureau