Michael Jackson kept lots of animals because it brought him closer to God.

The 'Thriller' singer - who died from acute Propofol intoxication in June 2009 - was famed for his eccentric lifestyle, which included turning his home into a theme park and befriending a monkey named Bubbles, but his brother Jermaine insists here was nothing strange about his behaviour.

He said: "Animals are loving - what's a difference between a dog and a monkey? I raised a tiger, I raised a mountain lion. For my 17th birthday I had a snake, Michael had the rats. People love animals, people live on farms.

"It's not really eccentric. I lived near Dean Martin once when he was alive and he had a bear in a cage. There are people who love animals - that's what zoos are for.

"Michael loved the story 'Jungle Book' and if you able to achieve these things then you would because it's the closest thing you can be to God. These are God's animals."

Jermaine also defended Michael's decision to wear masks when he was out and covering up the faces of his three children with veils.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live's Richard Bacon: "People talk about the masks and him having The Veils on his children. His success was so tremendous that he didn't want to leave his kids at home but if he brought them out, he didn't want to make a mockery of them by having their pictures splashed all over the newspapers and magazines.

"The mask was for germs. We were taught about germs from a very young age and he didn't want to spread germs or take germs."