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MJ's surprising exit

Published: Wednesday, May 30, 2007, 12:10 [IST]

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Popstar Michael Jackson made a surprisingly early exit from Prince Azim's birthday party - despite being paid 5 million to attend. The 'Thriller' singer cut short his mega-bucks appearance at the royal's 25th birthday bash on Saturday because he felt a "bit ill".
According to Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper, a source overheard Michael as saying: "I am feeling ill and so weak. I had to go to the bathroom to vomit. I think it must be the food. I feel terrible. I want to go now! Please call the prince, I want to say goodbye."

Prince Azim - whose father is the Sultan of Brunei, one of the world's richest men - was so keen for his hero Michael to attend his party at an English country estate, he said he would "pay whatever it took". The troubled singer did not even have to perform for his staggering pay cheque. A source told Britain's The Sun newspaper: "Michael seemed a shadow of his former self. He was white as a sheet."

Meanwhile, a collection of memorabilia related to the star is due to go on auction in Las Vegas tomorrow. More than 1,000 items, including an iconic red and gold military-style jacket worn by Michael in 1987, a model of alien film character E.T. and a good luck telegram sent by Marlon Brando in 1984, will be up for grabs at the two-day sale run by Guernsey auction house.

Auction house president Arlan Ettinger said: "I cannot imagine that somewhere down the road some other collection could come out of the woodwork and rival this. It's not going to happen." Michael, 48, had tried to have the auction halted, since he is not due to receive any profits from the sale.

The items were requisitioned from a storage facility after the Jackson family failed to pay a bill, and now belong to Florida-based transport company Universal Express Inc. Michael, who has persuaded the company to donate a sum of the profits to charity, has been invited to attend the auction.

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