updated 06/28/2009 AT 2:00 AM ET
•originally published 06/28/2009 AT 6:30 PM ET
In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE on Sunday, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who has spent time with the Jackson family since the sudden death of Michael on Thursday, shed light on how the grieving survivors are faring, as well as on serious questions that have arisen regarding the circumstances of their beloved son and brother’s death.
His own reaction (Rev. Jackson is not related to the musical family): “The suddenness of it all I am still in shock. It just hurts. It hurts.”
The state of the family: “[Parents] Katherine and Joe are strong but they are grieving. Michael is the first loss of any of their children, which compounds it. They are grieving over the suddenness of the loss of Michael. It was so sudden. And I say ‘sudden’ because he had passed his health test, he was rehearsing every day [for his U.K. concerts] and was in full training for the big tour. The tour was sold out. There was a real joy with Michael in recent months. So there is real grief now. He was at the top of his art. He was the best who ever did it.
Michael’s three children: “I’ve seen the children. They go out in the yard and play with their cousins. Happily playing. They are at the grandparents home, secure and happy.
Concerns of the family: “The family has questions. Of course. There is a concern about what happened the last 12 hours of Michael’s life. The doctor [Conrad Murray] has showed some bizarre behavior. Apparently, the doctor was with Michael, maybe administering to his back pain. And then, the next thing that happens is there is a 911 call. What’s strange about that call is the voice says Michael’s not breathing, that he’s unconscious. How long was he not breathing? How long was he unconscious
“Then, of course, the doctor did not confer with the family. To say, Here is what happened in the last hours of your son’s life.’ That would have been the courtesy. He hadn’t talked with the family. He didn’t sign the death certificate. He didn’t talk with the coroner. And then he was missing in action. Finally, when he surfaced, he surfaced with a lawyer. All these are rather bizarre actions.
“No one is in a position of accusing the doctor of anything. Because we don’t have answers to the questions that deserve to have answers. There may be plausible answers, but we don’t know. All we know is this bizarre behavior on his part.”
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