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Jackson's manager Frank Dileo dies at 63

Aug. 25, 2011 at 8:02 PM
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NEW YORK, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- Frank Dileo, the manager whose vision behind the "Thriller" album helped Michael Jackson become a pop music icon, has died in Ohio, a publicist said. He was 63.

The cause of death has not been released for Dileo, who died Wednesday, but publicist Karen Sundell said the former CBS Records executive recently experienced complications from heart surgery, the BBC reported.

At the time "Billie Jean," the first single from Jackson's 1983 "Thriller" album was still locked on to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, Dileo pressed to release the follow-up, "Beat It," Rolling Stone Magazine reported.

The resulting momentum made both singles go platinum and the album went on to sell more than 29 million copies.

Dileo's "brilliant understanding of the recording industry proved invaluable," the BBC noted Jackson wrote in his book, "Moonwalk."

Dileo, a native of Pittsburgh, became Jackson's manager in 1984, later going on to executive produce the "Moonwalker" movie and oversee the infamous Pepsi commercials, including the one in which Jackson was burned by a special effects fire.

Dileo and Jackson had a falling out in the 1990s during which time Dileo acted in movies such as "Wayne's World," in which he played Frankie "Mr. Big" Sharp, and "Goodfellas," in which he played Tuddy Cicero.

Jackson contacted Dileo in 2009 to manage him while the singer tried unsuccessfully to get his "This Is It" concert tour going.

No information was provided regarding funeral arrangements.

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