LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Frank DiLeo, who was Michael Jackson’s manager during the height of his career, died at age 63 on Wednesday due to complications from heart surgery.
DiLeo underwent heart-bypass surgery in March at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and remained in poor health after developing complications.
John Branca, co-executor of Jackson’s estate, praised the work DiLeo did on behalf of the King of Pop.
“I had the privilege of knowing Frank DiLeo for more than two decades,” Branca wrote in a statement posted on the official website of the Michael Jackson estate. “He was not only one of the great veterans of the music business, he was a beloved friend to me and all who were luck enough to have had him in their lives. He was one of a kind. He was a character. He was an original. We loved him and we will miss him. Our hearts are with his family.”
DiLeo’s career in the music industry began in 1968 with CBS Records, then went on to do promotional work for Monument Records and RCA before joining Epic Records where he worked with many of the biggest names in the business including Ozzy Osbourne, Gloria Estefan, and Cyndi Lauper.
He was the vice president of promotions at Epic when Jackson’s smash album “Thriller” was released.
“Frank really worked hard and proved to be my right hand during the years ahead,” Jackson wrote in his book “Moonwalk.” “His brilliant understanding of the recording industry proved invaluable.”
He became Jackson’s manager after “Thriller” and continued working with him through the 1980s until they parted ways.
They reunited in 2009 when Jackson was preparing for the “This Is It” concert series, which never happened due to Jackson’s sudden death in June of that year.
DiLeo is survived by his wife Linda, daughter Belinda, son Dominic and grandson Frank.