Jackie Wilson Cause of Death: The Tragic Story of Mr. Excitement

Jackie Wilson was one of the most influential singers and performers of the 20th century. He was known for his powerful voice, charismatic stage presence, and diverse musical styles. He was nicknamed “Mr. Excitement” for his ability to electrify audiences with his dynamic singing and dancing. He had a successful career that spanned over two decades, with over 50 chart singles and numerous awards and honors. However, his life was also marked by personal troubles, health problems, and a tragic end. What was Jackie Wilson’s cause of death? How did he die? Here is the story of his life and death.

Early Life and Career

Jackie Wilson was born on June 9, 1934, in Highland Park, Michigan, as the third and only surviving child of Jack Leroy Wilson Sr., a singer, and Eliza Mae Wilson, a church choir singer. He grew up in a poor and troubled family, with an alcoholic father who was frequently absent and unemployed. He joined a gang called the Shakers and often got into trouble with the law. He dropped out of high school at age 15 and was sentenced twice to detention in the Lansing Corrections system for juveniles.

Wilson began singing as a youth, accompanying his mother in church. He also joined a quartet called the Ever Ready Gospel Singers, who performed in local churches. Wilson was not very religious, but he enjoyed singing in public. He was influenced by various singers, such as Billy Eckstine, Nat King Cole, Al Jolson, and Mario Lanza.

Wilson’s first break came in 1953, when he joined the R&B vocal group Billy Ward and His Dominoes as a replacement for Clyde McPhatter. He soon became the lead singer of the group and gained popularity for his smooth vocals and energetic performances. He recorded several hits with the group, such as “St. Therese of the Roses”, “You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down”, and “Rags to Riches”.

Wilson left the group in 1957 to pursue a solo career. He signed with Brunswick Records and teamed up with songwriter and producer Berry Gordy Jr., who would later found Motown Records. Wilson’s first solo hit was “Reet Petite”, co-written by Gordy, which reached No. 6 on the R&B chart and No. 62 on the pop chart in 1957.

Peak of Success

Wilson’s career reached its peak in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when he scored several top 10 hits on both the R&B and pop charts. His songs ranged from romantic ballads to upbeat rock ‘n’ roll to soulful gospel. Some of his most famous songs include “Lonely Teardrops”, “To Be Loved”, “That’s Why (I Love You So)”, “Night”, “Doggin’ Around”, “Baby Workout”, “Whispers (Gettin’ Louder)”, “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher”, and “I Get the Sweetest Feeling”.

Wilson was also renowned for his live performances, which showcased his extraordinary vocal range, agility, and control. He could sing in four octaves and switch from falsetto to baritone with ease. He was also a skilled dancer, who could do splits, spins, slides, and jumps on stage. He influenced many singers who came after him, such as Elvis Presley, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Prince, Bruno Mars, and Justin Timberlake.

Wilson received many accolades for his musical achievements. He was nominated for two Grammy Awards in 1960 for Best R&B Performance for “Lonely Teardrops” and Best Vocal Performance for “Doggin’ Around”. He won four NAACP Image Awards for Best Male Singer in 1967, 1968, 1970, and 1974. He was also honored by various organizations, such as the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, the Rhythm and Blues Foundation, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (posthumously), the Grammy Hall of Fame (posthumously), Rolling Stone magazine (posthumously), NPR (posthumously), and others.

Personal Problems and Health Issues

Despite his professional success, Wilson’s personal life was full of difficulties and tragedies. He had a turbulent marriage with his first wife Freda Hood, whom he married in 1951 when he was 17 years old. They had four children together: Jacqueline Denise (born in 1952), Sandra Kay (born in 1953), Anthony Duane (born in 1954), and Thor Lathan Kenneth (born in 1956). However, Wilson was unfaithful to Hood and had affairs with many women. He also had three children out of wedlock: Linda Joyce (born in 1955), John L. (born in 1957), and Bobby Brooks (born in 1960). Hood filed for divorce in 1965, after Wilson allegedly shot and wounded one of his mistresses, Harlean Harris, in a jealous rage.

Wilson married his second wife, model and singer Jackie Ransom, in 1967. They had two children together: John Dominick (born in 1968) and Tonya Nicole (born in 1970). However, their marriage was also unhappy and violent. Ransom accused Wilson of abusing her physically and emotionally. She also claimed that he was addicted to drugs and alcohol. She filed for divorce in 1971, but they reconciled later.

Wilson suffered from various health problems throughout his life. He had diabetes, which affected his eyesight and kidneys. He also had a heart condition, which caused him to collapse on stage several times. He was hospitalized for exhaustion, dehydration, and pneumonia on different occasions.

Coma and Death

On September 29, 1975, Wilson was performing at the Latin Casino in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, when he suffered a massive heart attack on stage. He collapsed while singing one of his signature songs, “Lonely Teardrops”. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced clinically dead. However, he was revived by a medical team after 28 minutes of no pulse.

Wilson survived the heart attack, but he fell into a coma as a result of brain damage due to lack of oxygen. He remained in a vegetative state for the next eight years, unable to speak or move. He was cared for by various hospitals and nursing homes, with the help of his family and friends. He also received support from his fans, who raised money for his medical expenses and bought him a mausoleum.

Wilson died on January 21, 1984, at the age of 49 from complications of pneumonia. He was initially buried in an unmarked grave at Westlawn Cemetery near Detroit. In 1987, fans raised money to purchase a mausoleum for him at the same cemetery.

Wilson’s legacy lives on through his music and his influence on generations of singers and performers. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest vocalists and entertainers of all time. He is also remembered as a tragic figure who endured many hardships and challenges in his life. His story is both inspiring and heartbreaking.

Doms Desk

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