Jermaine Jackson: ‘I Wish It Was Me’

In a candid interview with NBC’s “Today” show host Matt Lauer, Jermaine Jackson admits he would have rather had his life taken than that of his brother’s, Michael Jackson.

“He went too soon,” Jermaine reveals. “I don’t know how people are going to take this, but I wish it was me.”

The 55-year-old former Jackson 5 member detailed the events surrounding the news of the King of Pop’s death last Thursday, which included hearing a frantic call from his mother, Katherine Jackson, rushing to UCLA Medical Center, and kissing his younger brother’s lifeless body.

“I held myself together because I know [Michael’s] very much alive,” Jermaine admits. “His spirit is, and [his body] was just a shell. I kissed him on his forehead and I hugged him, and I touched him and I said, ‘Michael, I’ll never leave you. You’ll never leave me.'”

On Wednesday, Ken Sunshine, the Jackson family spokesman, said a public memorial for Michael Jackson was in the works, but it wouldn’t be held at Neverland Ranch.

–Georgette Cline