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Michael Jackson wanted to clone himself
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London, July 7 (IANS) Michael Jackson was so scared of dying that he wanted to clone himself. He wanted to live forever, says the singer's driver.

Mirror.co.uk reports that Jackson, who died last month of cardiac arrest, had apparently attended a conference in Las Vegas on human cloning with his friend Uri Geller, the spoon bender. Jackson was also interested in the teachings of a sect called Raelians and asked them if they could clone him.

"Jackson was very excited. He bounced out of that conference like a small child. He was smiling and on a high. I heard him and Uri talking in the back of the limo. He was talking about the prospect of being cloned," said Al Bowman, Jackson's chauffeur who drove him to the event in 2002.

"He grabbed Uri by both arms and told him, 'I really want to do it Uri, and I don't care how much it costs'. I always remember Jackson talking about the cloning of Dolly the sheep in Britain in 1996 - he was totally fascinated by it. Then when he heard about the Raelians, he became utterly convinced this weird religious group could clone humans.

"It was really oddball stuff, but it interested Michael. One day in the limo he said, 'They did it with Dolly'. I said, 'Dali... you mean Salvador Dali'. We both laughed. Michael said he wanted a mini-version of himself cloned to carry on his legacy. He was hoping that Michael Jackson could live for ever."

Jackson's ex-wife Debbie Rowe to miss his funeral

London, July 7 (IANS) Late pop icon Michael Jackson's ex-wife Debbie Rowe has decided to skip the singer's memorial service because she feels her presence could be a distraction for others who will gather there later Tuesday.

Jackson's funeral will be held at Los Angeles' Staples Center. Thesun.co.uk reports that the 49-year-old Rowe, who is also the mother of the two eldest Jackson kids, made her decision after the Jackson family gave her a VIP spot. She revealed that her presence would be a distraction and she will "celebrate Michael's memory privately".

Rowe filed for divorce three years after she wed Jacko in 1996. She is now battling for custody with the Jackson family for Prince Michael, 12, and Paris, 11.

Justin Timberlake will not perform at the funeral though Jackson's brother Jermaine had asked him to perform. "Jermaine told Justin he was one of Michael's favourite performers. But he decided to pay his respects privately," said a source.

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