Dance Boss: 'Jackson Was As Fit As A 20 Year Old'
The dance studio boss overseeing rehearsals for MICHAEL JACKSON's comeback concerts is shocked by the star's sudden death - because the singer was as fit as a "20 year old".
Robert Baker, a friend of the music legend, attended Jackson's final rehearsal for his London shows just 12 hours before the singer suffered a cardiac arrest at his California home on Thursday (25Jun09).
Photographs from the run-through show the star dancing on a table and smiling as he practises his moves ahead of the massive 50-date run, which was due to kick off on 13 July (09).
Baker admits the news of Jackson's death just hours later took everyone working on the shows by surprise.
He says, "Michael was in great shape, he definitely wasn't your average 50 year old. Doctors who checked him out for the insurance firms were amazed. One even joked that he had the condition of a 20 year old.
"Four dancers from my studio were selected for his tour and were in rehearsals with Michael every day. These kids are in their 20s, but they said Michael was unbelievable and could keep up with them easily. There was definitely no cutting corners. If Michael struggled in rehearsals, or was pushing himself too hard, we didn't know about it. He had the stamina of a young man and that's why his death came as a complete shock.
"(Bosses at tour promoter) AEG had people watching Michael at rehearsals to protect their investment, they surely would have noticed if he was struggling?"
Magician Ed Alonzo, who designed a series of illusions for Jackson's comeback gigs, also witnessed the King of Pop's final performance in rehearsals.
He adds, "I just thought, 'Wow! He still has it!' When he did Thriller I was just in awe. It was a privilege to be able to watch the concert no one will see now. He just looked fantastic. He looked great and the moves he was doing on stage with the crew were just breathtaking. He went from one number to the next, saying, 'Let's do that again.'"