Michael Jackson wore mask because he was afraid of coronavirus-like pandemic, claims former bodyguard

The singer had earned the nickname 'Wacko Jacko' because of his propensity to wear masks during his public outings


                            Michael Jackson wore mask because he was afraid of coronavirus-like pandemic, claims former bodyguard
(Getty Images)

Michael Jackson was often pictured sporting a mask in his heyday because he was scared a global pandemic —like the novel coronavirus — would break out at any time, his former bodyguard has claimed.

'The King of Pop' was often the subject of ridicule and nicknamed 'Wacko Jacko' as he would go around with a trademark mask while touring and meeting with fans. But Matt Fiddes, who watched over Jackson for a decade, said the singer was just taking precautions that are now commonplace.

Fiddes, 41, said his former boss had prophesized something like COVID-19 devastating the world was a matter of "when" and not "if" and that he would probably be the first to say "told you so" if he were still alive today.

"He knew that a natural disaster was always there," Fiddes told The Sun. "He was very aware and would always predict that we could be wiped out at any time. That a germ that could spread. So he would go through four countries in one day sometimes and he was on airplanes with people all the time."

Fiddes shared that he used to joke with Jackson that he did not want to be photographed with him while he was wearing the mask because it was "embarrassing", but that the singer remained steadfast in his commitment to hygiene.

"I would joke, 'Michael please don’t wear that you’re embarrassing me I’m getting pap’d with you,'" the bodyguard said. "He would say, 'Matt I can’t get ill, I can’t let my fans down. I’ve got concerts coming up. I’m on this earth for a reason. I mustn’t damage my voice, I’ve got to stay healthy, I don’t know who I’m going to encounter today, I don’t know what I might pass on.'"

Singer Michael Jackson shops at the Dusmann Cultural mega-store November 19, 2002 in Berlin. Jackson is in Berlin with his three children to accept a lifetime achievement award (Eric Richard/Getty Images)

He insisted that the singer was not a germaphobe and was only concerned about protecting his voice, as well as his fans, from viruses he could have picked up while touring the world.

"He could meet 400 people a day and has to interact with people, it’s not like he could do the elbow thing that they’ve got now — they don’t want to just shake his hand, they want to hug him," he added.

Fiddes said that if Jackson, who died in 2009 aged 50, was still alive now, he would not be shy in pointing out to people that he had predicted such a crisis. "I know exactly what he would say to people now and that's it. I told you so," Fiddes said. "Then he'd be moaning that no one is listening to him because when he used to say stuff like that people didn't take him seriously, they used to call him 'Wacko Jacko' and all this stuff."

"But you don't get to be the biggest superstar in the world and not be intelligent," he continued. "That guy was super damn intelligent. But I knew him."

And it seems Jackson is not beyond helping from the grave either. It was recently reported that his estate is donating $300,000 to help entertainment industry workers on Broadway, the music business and in Las Vegas, who have been hurt by the coronavirus pandemic.

The estate announced it will be giving $100,000 apiece to roadway Cares, the food bank Three Square in Nevada and MusiCares as all three had been good to both — Jackson and his estate.

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 436,000 people worldwide and caused close to 20,000 deaths.

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