The Rev. Jesse Jackson said he supported Michael Jackson family's decision to have a second, independent autopsy performed on the pop star, and he's offered his support to family members as they mourn the pop star's death.
"It's very painful. I miss him very much," the civil rights leader said in a telephone interview with The Times on Sunday.
Jackson said he wouldn't discuss details of his talks with Joe and Katherine Jackson but said, "I certainly was supportive of the idea that they have an independent autopsy … because there are so many unanswered questions."
Jackson said he chose to appear on television to talk about what was happening because "we support their efforts to get clarity." "All of us who are concerned have our opinions," Jackson said. "It's very simple; they (Michael Jackson's family) deserve to know what happened."
He said he first met Michael Jackson when the young singer was about 8 years old. Rev. Jackson said that after he heard about Michael Jackson's death, he called the family and then flew from Chicago to meet with Joe and Katherine Jackson early Friday morning in Encino.
He said that he did not meet with the whole family.
"We reflected," Jackson said of the visit. "During this period of grief, people of faith must lean on their faith during times of crisis."
He said he thinks the redemptive moment of Michael Jackson's death was "the huge global response." "From Tokyo to Bucharest to Harlem, the whole world rejoicing. Michael knocked the Iranian revolution off the front page," Jackson said.
--Ari B. Bloomekatz