Michael Jackson will stay backstage for six weeks

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The Independent Online
MICHAEL JACKSON'S attorney refused last night to say where he was on the curious ground that he wanted him to get better. 'I don't want you to know - I don't want anyone to know, because I want his cure to be successful,' Bertram Fields said in Los Angeles.

He said Jackson was 'barely able to function on an intellectual level' because of his addiction to 'very, very heavy-duty drugs' - painkillers prescribed after the star's hair caught fire while filming a commercial for Pepsi Cola in 1988. Mr Fields said that Jackson hoped to return to the United States, where he faces an investigation into allegations of child abuse, in six to eight weeks.

But where is he now? French tourism officials said he had been taking the Alpine air in the resort of Avoriaz, while a hotel in Chamonix claimed Jackson was staying with them. In Britain attention centred on the Charter Nightingale Hospital in west London, a haven for damaged stars.

The hospital refused to confirm or deny the presence of the star, but a number of people leaving the building said Jackson had been admitted. He is thought to have arrived in Britain on Saturday, seeking medical help after cancelling his world tour.

Over the weekend he learnt that Pepsi Cola had cancelled its lucrative sponsorship deal with him. Yesterday it was said he faced a pounds 6.8m bill for his cancelled concert dates. But the show continued outside the pounds 300-a-night clinic yesterday, in front of assembled journalists.

There was a stir when a black chauffeur-driven Daimler drew up and a figure with long black ringlets, military-style black trousers and red and gold-trimmed jacket got out. The Michael Jackson lookalike was turned away, but he remained in character, refusing to comment.

Outside the clinic a fan took up position on a prayer mat, saying he was going on hunger strike until he found out how Jackson was. Ali Khan, 46, of Slough, said: 'I will fast until we find out how he is and where he is because he is in need of help and I'll help any way I can.'

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