The pop icon died at 50 in 2009 when his son Prince was only 12 years old.
Prince Jackson opened up about his famous dad in a recent, rare interview. The oldest son of pop music legend Michael Jackson, Prince spoke to FOX Soul about the advice his father gave him when he was younger. Prince is the oldest of the pop icon's three children and lost his father when he was only 12 years old. Jackson died at age 50 in 2009 from a cardiac arrest. “Things were very difficult for them after Michael passed away,” a family friend told PEOPLE of Prince, his sister Paris, 22, and his brother Bigi, 19, a decade after his death, in June 2019. “But it’s amazing to see how far they’ve come.” The kids “are all in a good place at this 10-year mark,” another source mentioned.
Now 24, Prince is sharing how his famous dad's words still ring true to him after all these years. It's been over a decade since Prince lost his father but his spirit lives on. "You know, there are so many nuggets there that are just so close to my heart that I feel like they’re applicable at all times," he said. "But the one that is my guiding principle is that you never stop learning. I graduated, and that doesn’t mean that I stopped learning. And my father also would say something along the lines of, 'The minute that you stop learning is the minute that you’re going to start dying.'"
It took a while for Prince to realize just how unfathomably famous his dad was. Sometimes the philanthropist liked not being associated with so much fame but he also wanted to pay tribute to his dad. Prince, whose given name is Michael Joseph Jackson Jr, switched between using "Prince" and "Mike" while he was in school. "Sometimes 'Mike' is nice for anonymity, but I also take a lot of pride in that because it's obviously my father's name," he said. "It was just easier for me to say 'Mike' instead of 'Prince.' I just switch it."
Prince was about 11 when he saw one of his father's concerts which opened his eyes to what a performer he was. "He was performing outside and you just see this sea of people, and there's people fainting in the audience," he said. "I asked my dad I'm like, 'Why were they fainting? I see you every day and I don't faint.'" That's when he had a realization "that people really loved my father." He also added that "it's really more like there was little seeds, as I was growing up and getting older, and I saw that people would follow us around, people would just want to reach out and touch my dad," he said.
The oldest of the Jackson brood has been focused on charity work in recent years. "I would hope he would be proud of the work we've done so far," Prince said. His charity, Heal Los Angeles, partnered with meal delivery service Fresh N' Lean to give out meals to those in need amid the coronavirus outbreak last year. The charity's goal is to end child abuse, homelessness, and hunger. Speaking to Entertainment Tonight at the time, he shared, "I would like to think that he would be very proud because I think this was one of his main goals, was not only to spread his message of positivity and happiness but to see it enacted in his kids," Prince said. "As a father, I think that's what you want to do when you raise kids. You're preparing them for the world and the type of person they're going to be." he continued, "I'm very grateful that I have this feeling that it's this collaborative ecosystem — we all need to help each other — and that came from the way that he raised us." "I was very fortunate to have him as a father," he added. "I had a lot of unique experiences growing up, and what I'm trying to do with my platform and the non-profit or the charity organization is to share those experiences."
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | (L) Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez (R) Handout Photo by Mohamed Hadid