December 22, 2008

Biographer: Jackson needs lung transplant

The author of an upcoming biography about Michael Jackson says the fading U.S. pop star needs a lung transplant.

Britain's The Sun newspaper quoted Canadian scribe Ian Halperin as saying the eccentric, 50-year-old Thriller singer suffers from the rare genetic disorder Alpha-1 anti-trypsin deficiency, which means he lacks a certain protein that protects his lungs.

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, Halperin told The Sun.

It's the bleeding that's the most problematic part. It could kill him. ... 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 it doesn't progress. He has been on many medications that have stabilized him.

Jermaine Jackson confirmed his brother Michael is ill to the newspaper.

He's not doing so well right now. This isn't a good time, Jermaine Jackson said.

Halperin is a former winner of the Rolling Stone magazine award for investigative journalism, the author or co-author of five books, a regular correspondent for Court TV and an occasional contributor to 60 Minutes 2, his biography on the Simon & Schuster Web site said.