Patrick Treacy’s memoir, Behind the Mask: The Extraordinary Story of the Irishman who became Michael Jackson’s Doctor, hits Irish bookshelves today.
The cosmetic surgeon, who has treated a host of celebrities, first met Jackson in 2006 after the pop star read about his charitable work in Africa.
Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1’s Ryan Tubridy show, Dr Treacy spoke of how Jackson had been struck by a rare skin condition called vitiligo that left him with black and white patches on his skin.
“His skin was black and white and he depigmented his hands, his feet, and his face using sort of a bleaching agent that left him susceptible to skin cancers which is why he wore the mask in the sun all the time,” said Dr Treacy, who felt Jackson should have been more open about his skin disorder.
“He should have been more honest with the world and put his hand up and said: ‘Look I have vitiligo and as a consequence of this I can’t go out in the sun,’” he said.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner Dr Treacy, who is based at the Ailesbury Clinic in Dublin, said a lot of people may have misunderstood Jackson and had “the wrong idea of who he was”.
“The book shows him in a different light,” he said. “It shows him as the Michael Jackson I knew, rather than the Michael Jackson that was portrayed in the media.”
Dr Treacy struck up a genuine friendship with Jackson, visiting him and his children in Westmeath during their six-month stay in Ireland.
He described the pop star as a devoted father, and said Jackson had planned to visit Crumlin Children’s Hospital in Dublin to see Limerick siblings Millie and Gavin Murray, who suffered horrific burns after their family car was firebombed in Limerick in September 2006.
However, Jackson was persuaded not to go because it was too soon after he had faced child abuse allegations in the US.
‘Doctor to Michael Jackson’ is just one chapter in Dr Treacy’s story, and while it only hits Irish bookshelves tomorrow it has already been doing well online.
“The book has been an Amazon bestseller for quite a while and it is going to run out within the next week to two weeks,” said Dr Treacy.
Sean O’Keeffe of Liberties Press, which is publishing Dr Treacy’s book, is also confident it will be a success.
“We’re delighted to be publishing Behind the Mask and are sure it will be a great success,” said Mr O’Keefe. “Although plenty of attention has been paid to Patrick’s friendship and charitable work with Michael Jackson, this is only a small part of the book.”