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Jackson: ‘I’ll die on the stage if I have to’

Despite the singer's apparent heavy usage of medications, his will to live, and to perform, was still strong, a source says.
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Associates of Michael Jackson continue to come forward with information about the late singer's requests for prescription drugs. While law enforcement officials are trying to figure out how those medications might have contributed to his death, business associates are attempting to figure how the pop star's usage played into his life.

But even if Jackson was using drugs as heavily as some reports would indicate (official toxicology reports are due any day), it didn’t mean the singer didn't have a strong will to live.

Sources close to the singer say he was enthusiastic about life as well as the 50 concerts he had scheduled at London’s O2 arena.

“He was excited about the concerts, and he was constantly coming up with ideas, said one person involved with the “This Is It” tour from its inception. “He even said to me on several occasions, ‘I am going to give everything I have,’” said the source. “He even said, I’ll die on the stage if I have to. It gives me the chills thinking about it now.”

Lester wants to visit children
Mark Lester is coming forward about his biological ties to Michael Jackson's children because he wants to be able to visit with Paris, Prince and Blanket, and not because he wants to have custody or parental rights, according to sources close to Lester.

“He hasn't been allowed contact with any of the children, and that's the problem,” said a source close to Lester. “He's close to the kids — at least as close as (Dr. Arnold) Klein, and he hasn't had contact with the kids since all this happened.”

Not only are the kids close to Lester, who is their godfather, but some say that the relationship is more established than the kids' relationship with some of the extended family.

“The kids know him (Lester) better than some of the Jacksons,” said longtime Jackson family friend and biographer Stacey Brown.

So why wouldn't Michael's mother Katherine Jackson, who has custody of the kids, know someone so close to her son and grandchildren?

“Michael made it a point that his friends didn't go to his family. The fastest way out of Michael's inner circle was to develop a relationship close to his family members,” according to a source who knew Michael well. “If Mark was close to Michael up until the end, then Katherine wouldn't have known him. She's just keeping him away out of ignorance.”

Abdul isn’t ruling out ‘Idol’ returnAlthough “American Idol” is moving ahead with plans to replace Paula Abdul, Abdul herself is not totally sold on turning her back on the show entirely.

“She didn’t want to leave — she hoped the show would give her the salary she wanted if she said she was walking,” said a source close to Abdul. “Although she’s getting other offers, she knows that ‘Idol’ is the best place for her to be. If the show can come up with a little more money, there’s a good chance she’ll return.”

Whitney Houston staging return
During last week’s live chat (read the archived transcript here), someone asked what Whitney Houston was up to these days — I had no clue.

Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. on the "Let's Be Cops," red carpet, Selena Gomez is immortalized in wax and more.

Now I can report it sounds like she’s in fantastic vocal shape: several people who’ve heard her latest tracks confirm that she sounds as good as she ever has.

As far as performances go, she’s been approached to take over some of Michael Jackson’s dates at London’s O2 arena, but they’re not confirmed. She’s also a soft “yes” for the World Music Awards, which tape Oct. 22 in Monaco (they don’t air until later in 2009).

“It all depends on how ready she feels she is to perform,” said one of the organizers.

Weekend box office“G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra,” was the clear winner at the box office with its $56.2 million take. Good, but that’s still a long way from recouping the film’s reported $175 million budget.

Which is all the more reason props need to go to the No. 2 movie of the weekend, “Julie and Julia.” Although there’s always a lot to be said for counterprogramming, the Meryl Streep-Amy Adams film took in $20.1 million, which is impressive for a film about cooking.

And when you consider “G.I. Joe” opened in roughly 4,000 theaters, and “Julie and Julia” opened in only about 2,300, “Julie and Julia” really hung in there.

Courtney Hazlett delivers the Scoop Monday through Friday on Follow Scoop on Twitter: @ courtneyatmsnbc.