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RYAN WHITE as one of Michael Jackson’s child friends

October 26, 2010

Everyone knows Michael Jackson’s song Gone too Soon which is dedicated to Ryan White. But I bet very few people know the story of friendship between Michael and Ryan.

Here it is, and I hope it will show to you, same as it did to me, what makes Michael Jackson really different from all of us around here  – and not in the way the media implies it to be.

Imagine the 1980s. It was the time when everybody was panicky about AIDS as a new fatal and contagious disease and was highly on their guard with those who contracted it. People were afraid to sit next to AIDS victims and breathe the same air with them. And  it was exactly at that time that Michael Jackson fearlessly invited the boy ill with AIDS to his home, dined with him and publicly embraced him inviting others not to be fearful of these people.

Is it possible for an ordinary person to understand why a mega-star like Michael would prefer the company of a gravely ill boy to numerous valuable things which make up a person’s life? An incredibly famous and busy young man would spend his precious spare time with ill children like Ryan White instead of going to parties or living a carefree life full of joy and self-indulgence? And would take the trouble of calling his small friend, arranging his trips, buying him presents and lavishing him with attention while all this time he could have taken care of himself or relaxed from his hard work?

Can any of us be really capable of anything like that? Not just once but on a regular basis and for a long time too? Can you?  Seriously? And Michael Jackson could…


Wiki tells us that Ryan Wayne White (December 6, 1971 – April 8, 1990) was an American teenager from Kokomo, Indiana who became a national poster child for HIV/AIDS in the United States after being expelled from school because of his infection. A hemophiliac, he became infected with HIV from a contaminated blood treatment. Healthy for most of his childhood, he became extremely ill with pneumonia in December 1984. On December 17, 1984, during a partial-lung removal procedure, White was diagnosed with AIDS.

After the diagnosis, White was too ill to return to school, but by spring had begun to feel better. His mother asked if he could return to school, but was told by school officials that he should not. On June 30 1985, a formal request to permit re-admittance to school was denied by Western School Corporation superintendent James O. Smith, sparking a legal battle that lasted for eight months.

Though doctors said he posed no risk to other students, AIDS was poorly understood at the time, and when White tried to return to school, many parents and teachers in Kokomo rallied against his attendance. White’s school, Western Middle School in Russiaville, faced enormous pressure from many parents and faculty to bar him from the campus after his diagnosis became widely known. 117 parents (from a school of 360 total students) and 50 teachers signed a petition encouraging school leaders to ban White from school. Due to the widespread fear and ignorance about AIDS, the principal and later the school board assented.

The ways in which HIV spread were not fully understood in the 1980s. Scientists knew it spread via blood and was not transmittable by any sort of casual contact, but as recently as 1983, the American Medical Association had thought that “Evidence Suggests Household Contact May Transmit AIDS”, and the belief that the disease could spread easily persisted.

Many families in Kokomo believed Ryan’s presence posed an unacceptable risk. When he was permitted to return to school for one day in February 1986, 151 of 360 students stayed home. He also worked as a paperboy, and many of the people on his route canceled their subscriptions, believing that HIV could be transmitted through newsprint.

When White was finally readmitted in April, a group of families withdrew their children and started an alternative school. Threats of violence and lawsuits persisted. According to White’s mother, people on the street would often yell, “we know you’re queer” at Ryan.

White attended Western Middle School for eighth grade for the entire 1986-87 school year, but was deeply unhappy and had few friends. The school required him to eat with disposable utensils and use separate bathrooms. Threats continued. When a bullet was fired through the Whites’ living room window, the family decided to leave Kokomo. After finishing the school year, his family moved to Cicero, Indiana, where White enrolled at Hamilton Heights High School. On August 31, 1987, a “very nervous” White was greeted by school principal Tony Cook, school system superintendent Bob G. Carnal, and a handful of students who had been educated about AIDS and were unafraid to shake White’s hand.

Many celebrities appeared with White, starting during his trial and continuing for the rest of his life, to help publicly destigmatize socializing with people with AIDS – among them Elton John and Michael Jackson.

Doctors said White had only six months to live. Surprising his doctors, White lived five years longer than predicted and died in April 1990, shortly before he would have completed high school.

The book “MY OWN STORY”, written by Ryan White and Ann Marie Cunningham, was published in August 1992 by the Signet publishing company. Ryan began to write about his life quite early. When the impact of his disease was too heavy though, Ann Marie Cuningham took over the task. The book speaks about Ryan’s close relationship with Michael Jackson and Elton John and how Ryan got along with his illness:

Here are some excerpts from the book:

When we went to restaurants, people would get up and leave, so they wouldn’t have to sit anywhere near me. Even in church, no one would shake my hand.

Panic spread all over town. Lots of times kids flattened themselves against walls when I walked by. I heard kids telling Ryan White jokes. And grown people passed along lies about how they’d seen me biting people, or spitting on vegetables at the grocery store. I never did and I never would.

When I finally did get back into class, after a judge said the school was wrong, an awful lot of people still wanted me gone.

….AIDS can destroy a family if you let it but luckily for my sister and me, Mom taught us to keep going. She said, ‘Don’t give up, be proud of who you are and never feel sorry for yourself.’

…The one day Michael Jackson called me. Wow! I didn’t know why he had, except maybe because he’s from Indiana too. He was in his car, he said.

“If I lose you, man, I’ll call you back,” he told me.

So I told him what I was doing, what movies I’d seen, what school was like, how John and I had been window-shopping for stereo – stuff I’d talk about to anyone. I said I was playing his albums.

I liked “Man In The Mirror” the best. Michael’s not flaky or weird, like you read in those newspapers you can buy in the supermarket. He’s real quiet and softspoken. Sometimes he takes a while to say things. He’s just kind of gentle and peaceful. He was a nice new friend for me to have. “Next time you’re in L.A., we’ll get together and have some good old fun,” he told me. Well, I couldn’t wait.

…On the day we were going to spend with Michael, a limo picked up Mom, Andrea, Heather, and me very early at our hotel. After we climbed in, we were told that we couldn’t take any cameras with us because we weren’t allowed to take pictures. About three hours later, about ten in the morning, we drove up to the entrance of Neverland, Michael’s ranch.

Michael was wearing black pants and a red and black jacket and a black hat. He always wears my favourite colours. He showed us around the main house. Just like me, his dream is to have kids, so the house had a bedroom for a little boy and one for a little girl, plus a playroom with all kinds of toys and arts and crafts – even a miniature merrygo-round.

At lunch – chicken, corn on the cob, and pumpkin pie – we met Michael’s monkeys. His famous one, Bubbles, wasn’t there, but the others made up for him. They all wore diapers and T-shirts in different colours. They have their own babysitters, and they go to school every day to learn manners. Their manners were pretty good! They hoped around and played with our shoelaces while we ate. Every now and again Michael fed them a treat. I never wanted to say goodbye to them.

I felt very comfortable around Michael because I could see he was just as shy as I am. He seemed like a regular person to me. I certainly could relax with him.

….At lunch there was juice and Pepsi. Mom asked if there was any Coke. Then she remembered Michael’s Pepsi commercial. She really thought she’d blown it.

Michael smiled. He knew what she was thinking. He said that Mom was just like his mother. So Mom got up the nerve to ask a mom-type question. “Michael,” she said, “is it true that you sleep in an oxygen tank?” That’s something the tabloids have said about him.

Michael laughed. “Now Jeanne,” he said, “You know all the stuff that’s been written about you and Ryan.”

“Oh gosh,” Mom said. “I understand!”

…After lunch Michael asked me if I’d like to ride around part of the ranch in his fourwheeler. “Yeah!” I said. Andrea was going to try his trampoline, and Heather and Mom were checking out his outdoor hot tub that had a video screen on one side.

Michael and I set out over the ranch’s dirt roads. I was at the wheel and he rode in the back. I took off and Michael yelled, “Slow down, Ryan!” After we’d gone a few miles he asked me if I could find my way back to the house.

“Sure,” I said. I listed a few landmarks.

“Good for you!” Michael said. “But now let me drive!”

…When we caught up with Mom and the girls it was getting late. We had homemade pizza for supper, and then it was time for us to drive back to L.A. I told Michael that I really, really wanted a photo of us together. So he sent someone out for a Polaroid camera, and drove down with us to the ranch’s entrance. Mom got some good shots, and then we said goodbye.

…As the limo headed for the highway, Heather covered her face with her hands, shook her hair back and forth, and started laughing and laughing and laughing. “I just can’t believe it! I just can’t believe it!” she cried. “We spend the day with Michael Jackson. I can’t believe we were with Michael Jackson.”

On bad days I had to rely on the phone for social life. Michael called to say he was busy working on an album. “We’ve got to get together and goof off again,” Michael said. He wanted to know if I could come back out to the ranch after Christmas.

Well, when Michael invites you, you don’t say maybe. Dr. Kleiman knew I wanted to keep going, and that trips to California kept me going. I could count on him to get me on that plane. So I told Michael, “You can bet on it.”

…The drive took about three hours. The limo dropped me off at Bungalow Three for the rest. Michael said, “See you at seven.” That was suppertime. I was worried. My stomach ached and I was having cramps. I called Mom.

“I shouldn’t have come,” I told her. “I don’t want to be sick here with Michael.”

“Well, you haven’t eaten in a while,” Mom pointed out. I usually needed at least a snack every couple of hours or so. She said, “Why don’t you see how you feel after supper?”

I took a nap and went up to the main house for supper – chicken, beer ribs, and baked potatoes. Then Michael and I went to his private theatre and watched two and a half hours of Three Stooges reruns. We ate popcorn from the theatre’s own machine, and had pizza delivered from the house. I felt a lot better and had a great time. Now I was glad I had come.

…”I like your jacket,” Michael told me, “but I want you to have a heavier one.” So the two of us drove to a nearby town in Michael’s Bentley… The best part was, the man in the shop didn’t believe that Michael and his credit card were for real! Michael gave him the ranch’s security number, and he called to clear the card and the doublecheck that Michael was who he said he was.

…I was very happy that dinner turned out to be tacos. Afterward I showed Michael a video that Mom, Andrea, and I had made for him of our whole house – every room, every poster and decoration we have on the walls.. “When you come to visit now,” I told him, “you’ll know your way around our house.”

…The night we watched the new Indiana Jones movie, The Last Crusade. How lucky can you get, I thought. The lines were too long to get in at home, but I was getting a private screening.

…The next day Michael had business meetings. When Michael was free, we went back to town to pick out some presents for Mom and Andrea. I got Mom a great big Santa, and magic stuff for Andrea.

..At dinner on New Year’s Eve, Michael gave me a wonderful watch. It chimes every hour and has a builtin alarm. It tells you the day of the week, the date, the month, and the year.

“Thanks!” I said.

“I have to leave early tomorrow – before you go,” Michael said. “I’m sorry I won’t be around. And I’m sorry I don’t have the autographed photo you wanted. But I’ll mail it to you.”

When we hugged goodbye, Michael said, “Never give up. Do it for me.”

… New Year’s Day: my last day at the ranch. I played with Max, one of Michael’s pet monkeys. I was glad to see him again, and he was glad to see my shoelaces. I puckered up for a kiss, and Max gave me a big one.

I called Mom to tell her I was on my way home.

“There’s a big box at the ranch entrance for me to take home,” I told her. “It’s driving me crazy. What do you think it is?”

It was a whole new stereo system and disc changer. A few days later I got a photo of Michael signed, “To Ryan.” He was wearing red, black, and white. Thanks, Michael!

…For the next week Ryan remained unconscious, in critical condition in the intensive care unit of Riley Hospital. Dr. Kleiman told Jeanne he was sure Ryan was not in pain. But Ryan’s chances of pulling through, he said, were only ten percent. (…)

When Michael Jackson called, he would have two minutes to speak. “Ryan,” Elton John said, “you can’t turn down a superstar like this. I’m grade B compared to Michael.” He held the phone to Ryan’s ear so Michael could encourage him. (…)

At about one o’clock Sunday morning, Michael Jackson called again from Atlantic City. When Jeanne told him Ryan was not expected to live, Michael declared he was flying to Indianapolis right away.

… Ryan is dying. “I feel terrible,” he says. About 1 A.M. on Sunday, Jeanne takes a call at Ryan’s bedside from longtime family friend Michael Jackson. Michael bought Ryan a red Mustang about a year ago, and the Whites have been frequent guests at his California ranch.

Michael wants to come that minute. He is in Atlantic City.
“How long will it take you, Michael?,” she asks. Jeanne looks at a nurse wearing goggles. “Two hours?” she asks the nurse.
The nurse shakes her head.

“Michael, don’t come, honey. Ryan isn’t expected to last two hours. We know how much you love him.” Jackson says he’ll be there in-the morning, and he is.
As soon as Michael Jackson arrived, he went straight to the Whites’ home in Cicero. He was very upset that he hadn’t gotten there before Ryan died. He went up to Ryan’s room, which was full of his collections, posters, and souvenirs, including his director’s chair from the movie set. In the closet was the heavy new leather jacket Michael had wanted him to wear.

Michael sat quietly looking at everything for a long time. Jeanne offered him anything he liked there as a keepsake, but he asked her to leave Ryan’s room just as it was.

In the Whites’ front yard sat the red Mustang Michael had given Ryan. Now it was covered with flowers and Easter eggs, gifts from children. Andrea took Michael out to show him the car and they sat in together. When Michael turned on the CD player, Ryan’s favourite song, Michael’s “Man In The Mirror,” began to play. Michael smiled proudly. He knew it must have been the last song Ryan had played.

… Ryan died at 7:11 A.M. on April 8, 1990. It was Palm Sunday.


Below is the video with Jeanne talking about Michael Jackson and her son. Some excerpts from it:

..”Michael was amazed that Ryan never talked about his illness. And he said he never wanted anybody to feel sorry for him. So I think they really had this good communication of respect for each other”.

Q. You never had any hesitation about Ryan spending time with Michael Jackson?

A. No! … Michael was always interested in what Ryan was doing. He loved kids, and he didn’t care what race you were, what color you were, what was your handicap, what was your disease – Michael just loved all children.

Q. He did something incredibly special when he learned what Ryan’s favorite car was?

A. We had a call from a car dealer who said they had a car for Ryan. [Michael did it] just to see the joy in the kid’s face.

[During the funeral] the car was sitting outside in the yard.. Michael started the car and “Man in the Mirror” was playing. The little things made Michael so happy. You could see in his eyes and he was smiling from ear to ear and said, “I was the last person that Ryan was listening to…?” and I said, “Yes”. Ryan just listened to it over and over again.

Three days after the funeral Michael called me and asked me how I was doing. I said, “What made you and Ryan so close?” Michael said, “…Nobody ever acts normal round me. Ryan knew how I wanted to be treated because that’s how he wanted to be treated. I can’t trust anyone because everyone wants something from me”. Then he said, “I promised Ryan he could be in my next video, but now that he is gone I can’t put him in my video. But could I do a video for him? I was like, “That’s unbelievable”. And he did a video called Gone too soon… that’s the memory that’ll stay forever”.

Here is the video:

Are you also impressed by Michael’s question and the gentle and considerate way he made his offer to Jeanne: “Could I do a video for him?”  Does it tell you as much as it tells me of Michael’s shyness, generosity and care for other people and their feelings?

And did you notice another question – the one that was asked by Maggie Rodriguez of CBS news? She wondered if Ryan’s mother ever had any hesitation about Ryan spending time with Michael Jackson? What an incredible question to ask about the relationship with an AIDS-infected boy!

Am I right in thinking that the journalist was hinting at the danger of “molestation” of the ill boy by someone who was not infected by the disease? At a time when people were afraid to shake hands with AIDS victims and everyone around Ryan was hysterical with fear? And only a few people including Elton John and Michael Jackson were brave enough to overcome their natural apprehension of the unknown disease and take the unfortunate boy under their wing? So who should have had ‘reservations’ about whom in this case?

Or are these people so brainwashed with stereotypes about Michael that they do not realize the absurdity of what they are saying?

In the cover story the absurdity is repeated:


In 1984, White was diagnosed with AIDS at the age of 13 after he received a tainted blood treatment for hemophilia. Befriended by Jackson, Ryan and his mother Jeanne White-Ginder both stayed at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch in its heyday, and Jeanne told CBS News the home was “a place between heaven and Earth.”

Her son visited Neverland Ranch at times on his own, and loved the movie theater, Bubbles — Jackson’s chimp, and ordering anything he wanted at Jackson’s home. The times spent at Neverland are “precious memories.” She showed Maggie Rodriguez of CBS news an album of Ryan’s mementos from Jackson’s ranch. They even got photos with the pop star, she said, who didn’t allow cameras on the property.

She said she had no reservations about letting her son stay with Jackson in 1989. Ryan called her and said he and Jackson watched three hours of “The Three Stooges.” White seemed “more mature” around Jackson, who she said loved kids.

Jackson gave Ryan his favorite car, a red Mustang, as a gift a year before he died.

Ryan White died at age 18 in 1990. Jeanne said Jackson sat with her and Ryan’s sister at the funeral. At his funeral the car was on display, and Jackson started it and “Man in the Mirror” was playing.

“The little things made Michael so happy,” she said. “You could see it in his eyes. He was smiling from ear to ear, and he said, ‘I was the last person that Ryan listened to.’ And I said ‘yes.’ Because Ryan played ‘Man in the Mirror’ over and over and over again.”

But Jeanne said a special memory is the “GONE TOO SOON” song and video.

Three days after White’s funeral, Jackson called her and said he’d promised Ryan he could be in his next video, and now that he’s gone, he couldn’t do that. But Jackson found a way. The “Gone Too Soon” video featured footage of Ryan, including his media attention as the face of the AIDS epidemic, his life growing up with the disease, and his funeral. Jeanne White-Ginder said, “That’s a memory we’ll share forever.”

Another video and it is again RYAN’S MOTHER SPEAKING ABOUT MICHAEL:

Some excerpts from it:

...Jeanne was stunned when the King of Pop contacted her son Ryan. She said Jackson felt sorry for the teen who was shunned after contracting AIDS through a blood transfusion.

In 1990 in was Jackson who accompanied the Whites’ family to Ryan’s funeral.

Mrs. White-Ginder agreed to testify on Jackson’s behalf but was never called to the stand. “It hurts when I hear the things that’s been said but I have to go with my heart and what I know from my heart that I believe is true”.

Ginder admits however she always chaperoned  Ryan during his many visits to the Neverland ranch (again those idiotic innuendoes).

Even after Ryan’s death she says she spent several vacations with Jackson. “A couple of years ago he called me and said, “I just thought I’d call you and tell you Happy Mother’s Day”. People don’t know those kind of moments from Michael.”


June 26, 2009

A Leesburg woman shared intimate memories with Eyewitness News about Michael Jackson’s friendship with her son. White got AIDS through a blood transfusion and Michael reached out and befriended the boy.

After White’s death at the age of 18 in 1990, his mother moved to Leesburg and that’s where WFTV reporter Greg Warmoth spoke with her. It was a day flooded with emotions and tears for Jeanne White-Ginder, who has fond memories of Michael Jackson’s friendship with her dying son, Ryan White.

“I’m just hoping that Ryan had his hand out, grabbing Michael’s like Michael grabbed his,” Jeanne said. “Michael and Ryan were true friends”. He visited Neverland Ranch several times, went to concerts and the two talked on the phone regularly.

She recorded one of those calls, in 1989, where Ryan invited Michael to see the premier of Batman. Once Ryan died, less than a year after that call, Jeanne apologized to Michael, who called to wish her a happy Mother’s Day as late as two years ago.

“I said to Michael, ‘I gotta tell you something.’ I feel guilty about it. And he said, ‘Why didn’t you record all of them?’ He said, ‘Those phone calls were so precious to me,'” Jeanne said.

The most special gift came two years after Ryan died of AIDS, when Michael recorded a song called “Gone Too Soon.” Now, she feels the song fits the King of Pop’s passing.

Along with the scrapbooks and other memories, there’s also a 1989 Mustang. Michael gave it to Ryan and it still sits in the family’s barn. “I think everybody kinda knows he’s different, but at the same time he was the most generous person you could imagine,” Jeanne said.

That’s why Jeanne, who travels the country trying to help AIDS patients receive medicine under the Ryan White Care Act, wanted to speak out. “There are all these reports that are not true. Whether they’re tabloidish or whoever they’re coming from, these stories are not true or at least in my eyes I’ve never seen them,” Jeanne said. “Maybe we get let go of negative publicity that surrounds him and remember the good things.”

Video and Jeanne’s scrapbook with photos at:

Phone conversation between Michael Jackson and Ryan in 1989:


What will you say if someone tells you that Michael went in the Jacuzzi with children? You will feel a little on the defensive as all Michael’s advocates are expected to be and search for an answer, won’t you?

And what will you say if someone tells you that Michael went in the Jacuzzi with Ryan White, the boy dying of AIDS and did it at a time when people flattened themselves against walls as the ill boy was passing them by? You will be awestruck by Michael’s boldness and the extent of his care for the boy, won’t you?

We know about this striking fact from Larry King’s interview with Dr. Klein on July 11, 2009

KING: “You wanted to tell me something about Michael and Ryan White, the young boy dying of AIDS.

KLEIN: That’s very important, yes. Michael wanted to bring Ryan White to Neverland. And his plastic surgeon, a brilliant surgeon, said you can’t bring him in the Jacuzzi because you may catch AIDS.

KING: You’re kidding?

KLEIN: No, he said that. Honestly, honest to God. So Michael called me, and he said, “Will I catch AIDS if I go in the Jacuzzi with Ryan White?” I said, no way. And he was very good friends with Ryan White until he died. And that’s what people don’t know.

KING: Did he go in the Jacuzzi with him?

KLEIN: Absolutely, because, you know what? He really cared. I want to tell you, this is a person who really cared about other people. He’s unlike anyone I ever met.”

If Dr. Klein is telling the truth (and in this particular case I don’t doubt his word) it means that Michael went to great pains to put Ryan at ease and make him feel at least once in his now terrible life that he is no different from other people.

It is absolutely clear that Michael could take a Jacuzzi together with Ryan solely for the reason of boosting the boy’s confidence at a time when no one wanted to simply shake hands with him, which made him suffer greatly from the stigma of his disease.

One of Michael’s fans is writing about it in her blog:

“On Larry King Live Dr. Arnie Klein, spoke to Larry about the love and respect Michael demonstrated towards Ryan White by publicly embracing him and inviting the nation to do the same despite the sense of dread, fear and bewilderment they felt about his disease.

The community put Ryan and his family through hell when they learned he had contracted AIDS, yet the Whites confronted this injustice with uncommon valor, earning the respect of the King of Pop. Michael nobly offered himself in the service of Ryan White, sharing life’s joys and sorrows with him, and setting himself up as a shining example for others of love, understanding and acceptance, so that people would set aside their fears and prejudices and no longer ostracize the teen. Michael Jackson took Ryan White under his wing and brought him to Neverland for some well deserved fun.

Dr. Klein told Larry King that Michael wanted to take Ryan with him into his hot tub, but one of the pop superstar’s doctors advised him against it, warning the King of Pop he might contract AIDS himself if he did. After receiving assurances from Dr. Klein that this was not the case, Michael and Ryan did some hot tubing together at Neverland.

This bold step by Michael must have given Ryan a serious confidence boost when he needed it most, since an open display of fearlessness by a high profile person was essential in helping the public overcome the stigma of AIDS. Michael risked his own health by taking to the hot tub with Ryan at a time of great uncertainty about the disease and high public anxiety.

Michael’s powerful show of solidarity with Ryan White and his family, his graciousness and compassion was a generous gift that brought Ryan some much deserved happiness in the face of great sorrow. It helped change the public’s perception and understanding of AIDS and brought about greater acceptance of those suffering with it”.

And you know what? It wasn’t only Michael who helped Ryan – Ryan is helping him now too. When reading excerpts from Ryan’s book “My own life” I was greatly surprised to find an answer to our first question about that “Jacuzzi issue” and why Michael took anyone into his Jacuzzi at all. Not knowing we were asking, Ryan answers this question – he says his mother went to have a look at the bathtub which had a big video screen by its side.

So it was a kind of a movie theater for them. They watched videos while relaxing in a big Jacuzzi which was installed in an open-air space  – a great way to relax after a hard and busy day…


This is what Michael said about Ryan White and other children:

I am not trying to be philosophical but I really think it’s my job to help them. I think it is my calling. I don’t care if people laugh or what they say.

[Children] don’t have a mouth to society and I think it is now their time. From here on out it is their time. They need the world’s awareness and they need issues to deal with, and this is for them. And if I can be that light, that pedestal just to shine some light on who they are, and the importance of who children are, that’s what I want to do. I don’t know how God chooses people, or plays chess with people, and he does put you in position and sets you up. Sometimes I feel like that, like this is my place.

Ryan White. The hardest for me is. . . I don’t understand when a child dies. I really don’t. I think there should be a window where there is a chance of dying but not in this window of time. When a child dies, or if the child is sick, I really don’t understand it.

But I listen to Ryan White, twelve years old at my dining room table at Neverland telling his mother how to bury him. He said, “Mom when I die, don’t put me in a suit and tie. I don’t want to be in a suit and tie. Put me in OshKosh jeans and a T-shirt.”

I said: ‘I have to use the bathroom,” and I ran to the bathroom and I cried my eyes out. Hearing this little boy telling his mother how to bury him. That hurt me. It was as if he was prepared for it and when he died he was in OshKosh jeans and a T-shirt and a watch that I gave him. How could your heart not go out to someone like that?

And I am sitting alone in this room with him and he is lying there and I felt so bad I just wanted to hold him and kiss him and say that I love him, which I did all those things when he was alive. I took care of him and he stayed at my house. But to see him just lying there … I spoke to him and I said, “Ryan, I promised you that I would do something in your honor on my next album. I will create a song for you. I will sing it. I want the world to know who you are.” I did Gone Too Soon . That was for him.

Michael’s tribute to the boy did not only include a beautiful song but also a poignant poem:


Ryan White, symbol of justice

Or child of innocence, messenger of love

Where are you now, where have you gone?

Ryan White, I miss your sunny days

We carelessly frolicked in extended plays

I miss you, Ryan White

I miss your smile, innocent and bright

I miss your glory, I miss your light

Ryan White, symbol of contradiction

Child of irony, or child of fiction?

I think of your shattered life

Of your struggle, of your strife

While ladies dance in the moonlit night

Champagne parties on chartered cruises

I see your wasted form, your ghostly sight

I feel your festering wounds, your battered bruises

Ryan White, symbol of agony and pain

Of ignorant fear gone insane

In a hysterical society

With free-floating anxiety

And feigned piety

I miss you, Ryan White

You showed us how to stand and fight

In the rain you were a cloudburst of joy

The sparkle of hope in every girl and boy

In the depths of your anguished sorrow

Was the dream of another tomorrow.

Questions to the reader:

1) Can anyone in his right mind ever doubt that Michael Jackson was spending his time with Ryan in an absolutely innocent way even if they went together in a Jacuzzi,  a bathtub or whatever?

2) Shouldn’t we reflect instead on the incredible amount of time and attention Michael Jackson gave to the Whites – both before and after Ryan’s death? Let me remind you that Ryan’s mother spent her vacations at Neverland even after her son’s death and that Michael was still calling her to say Happy Mother’s day seventeen years afterwards (in 2007) – which is something seldom found even between close relatives, let alone a superstar remembering the mother of a dead boy who was just his friend.

3) Was Michael doing it for any kind of profit for himself? What kind of benefit could he gain from socializing with a boy who was shunned by all the others? What advantages could he derive from showering him with attention or giving him a car as a present a year before he died?

4) Wasn’t it done with the sole purpose of boosting the spirits of the dying boy and keeping him going in spite of all doctors’ predictions?

5) How many of us are capable of behaving in a similar awesome and selfless way?

6) Why don’t we shut up then about ‘this and that’ in Michael’s behavior which is not to our liking? What right do we have to pass judgment on a man like that?

31 Comments leave one →
  1. sanemjfan permalink
    April 2, 2017 5:41 pm

    here’s a new video of MJ and Ryan White that was recently released. You may want to add it to this post:


  2. Tatiana permalink
    December 8, 2016 7:35 pm

    I miss you Ryan White. He been gone nearly 27 years ago this years!


  3. October 16, 2013 12:41 pm

    Ryan White’s funeral this is short but it shows MJ there and Elton John


  4. October 16, 2013 12:31 pm

    I read his book and cried like a baby the whole time.
    I had to keep stop reading it MJ didn’t meed Ryan White till 1988 and Ryan Died in 1990


  5. V.E.G. permalink
    September 3, 2013 3:28 pm

    May his memory be eternal!


  6. Rodrigo permalink
    September 14, 2012 1:07 am

    Thanks for that, Helena.

    Yes, Michael was a good guy. Too good for this world.

    My sister and her husband usually go to other countries and help with projects to build schools and hospitals, giving gifts and donations. Just like Michael would have done.
    Maybe next year when they go again, I will join them, I’ve always wanted to. If I do, I’m going to introduce Michael’s music to the people there, if they haven’t heard it before. From there, they’ll truly know the man and his spirit 🙂


  7. September 13, 2012 11:53 pm

    “I do know, wherever life takes me, it’s going to involve me helping others. Michael set up a certain example, and I intend to do my best to follow it. Because I feel now more than ever, more aware to suffering that goes on in the world, and I want to do something about it.”

    Rodrigo, Michael affected each of us in his own special way. The effect is enormous and something we cannot explain or even understand. It looks like he made us all of us wake up and see the genuine values of life instead of the artificial ones they constantly push on us. All of us have indeed entered some kind of a new reality, see different relations between people and new goals being formed in the perspective. There is no need to rush things, but I know for sure that doing something which brings you enormous moral reward and satisfaction is a big treat. I once read the words attributed to Dalai Lama who said, “Live a noble and honest life. Reviving past times in your old age will help you to enjoy your life again”.

    Specially for you – Michael took the opportunity of Bill Clinton’s inauguaration on January 1993 to speak about his friend Ryan White and the need to support research for a cure to this dreadful disease.


  8. Rodrigo permalink
    September 12, 2012 3:43 am

    I dont know what it is. I’ve just been listening to Gone Too Soon, and I just burst into tears. I was thinking about that poor kid, Ryan White. Then my mind shifted to just the thought of children out there who suffer and lose their lives everyday.

    A family friend’s 6 year old niece has just contracted meningitis, and she’s in a coma. That’s what my cousin died of when she was 12.

    I was thinking all that when listening to this song and I just started to cry. Thinking, “children”. What sort of a world do we live in, where children are born to suffer and die? What’s it all for? They shouldn’t be in hospital’s or graves, they should be happy and healthy, playing outside, being with their families.

    Sorry about this. But I think of all that, then I think of Michael. He felt the same way, I’m sure, but deeper. He tried all he could do to help heal this world for all the children out there, and he got spat on by people who don’t have an ounce of care in them.

    I just know this. Michael cared deeply about the welfare of children, it was genuine. I care also, I wan’t to do something myself to help the same way Michael did. My sister is the same, she goes to poverty stricken countries and helps anyway she can. Helps people of all ages.

    I’ve felt tonight something so real, it’s hurt me. I’ve always been a sensitive guy, but I’ve seriously had my eyes opened. Maybe I’ve experienced a fraction of the feelings Michael felt in his life, I don’t know. But I do know, wherever life takes me, it’s going to involve me helping others. Michael set up a certain example, and I intend to do my best to follow it.
    Because I feel now more than ever, more aware to suffering that goes on in the world, and I want to do something about it.


  9. Olga permalink
    December 19, 2010 4:59 pm

    Ryan’s funeral


  10. Debra N permalink
    December 6, 2010 4:28 pm

    Vindicate ,
    o.k. no problem, I thought the admins would get mad
    because it wasn’t the topic and I wish I could change the lyrics on the lyrics page itself but it wouldn’t let me so I left them on the comments, so just so you guys know there on the comments part and not the song itself.


  11. December 6, 2010 8:16 am

    “I’m sorry I posted the Monster lyrics the real ones on the lyrics but I made a mistake and posted the link on this one Ryan White can you please delete that comment for me?”

    Debra, sorry for the delay – I’ve arrived from the country only recently. Let the lyrics stay in Ryan’s post as well – the more people know the real words the better it is.

    Guys, thank you all for finding the real lyrics. I do hope we’ve interfered with their plans to vilify Michael again.


  12. Debra N permalink
    December 5, 2010 8:31 am

    I’m sorry I posted the Monster lyrics the real ones on the lyrics
    but I made a mistake and posted the link on this one Ryan White
    can you please delete that comment for me?
    Thank You


  13. Debra N permalink
    December 5, 2010 6:11 am
    I posted the Real Monster lyrics on the comment’s section because I couldn’t change them on the site
    so I put them on the comments I hope you don’t mind.


  14. lcpledwards permalink
    November 2, 2010 6:41 pm

    I think the reason that MJ was so calm about being secretly recorded by Ryan White’s mom is because it occured before any scandals! If she had recorded him AFTER 1993, then he would have been a lot more upset.

    For example, remember when he and his lawyer were secretly recorded while flying to LA to be arrested?

    MJ didn’t take it lying down! He filed a lawsuit, and the FBI became invovled. The lawsuit was ruled in their favor, but then overturned, and is scheduled to go back to court next year.


  15. October 28, 2010 12:43 pm

    “Would a CM speak up against the sexual abuse of children? As far as I have seen that is not what Victor Gutierrez, Thomas O’Carroll and their friends are doing…..”

    Suzy, this is exactly the point! These guys are playing a totally different tune and sing about “the beauty” of such relations and their “beneficial effect” on the children. If you remember those professors who recommended the book by Thomas O’Carroll – all of them are practically saying it outloud in their historical works!

    “Democracy was based on ped-sty”, “Ancient Greece flourished due to it”, “Education reached amazing results because of older men being sex mentors of young boys” and all other similar incredible stuff WHICH THEY TEACH TO PRESENT-DAY STUDENTS NOW AS REGULAR SUBJECTS!

    Though I’ve done the research myself I still cannot believe that this is really happening right in front of our eyes.


  16. Suzy permalink
    October 28, 2010 12:28 pm

    Thanks Helena.

    Would a CM speak up against the sexual abuse of children? As far as I have seen that is not what Victor Gutierrez, Thomas O’Carroll and their friends are doing…..


  17. October 28, 2010 10:11 am

    Thanks to Pez we have this wonderful link:!

    At about 3:50 of the video Michael is speaking at the Southern African Economic Summit in 1998 and is visibly sad as he is saying:

    “We are all touched by the atrocities committed against children – sexual and physical abuse, child slave labor, forced homelessness, educational neglect. We feel ASHAMED, ANGRY, APPALLED. But there is no action. No action…”

    The narrator goes on to say that “another issue close to Michael Jackson’s heart was HIV/AIDS. Long before it became popular as a cause he helped draw public attention to the disease, particularly with a high-profile case involving a young boy called Ryan White who had contracted the virus through a contaminated blood treatment. With HIV/AIDS still largerly controversial at the time Michael went out on a limb and publicly pleeded with the Clinton administration to give more money to HIV/AIDS charities and research”.


  18. October 27, 2010 9:29 pm

    Pez, thank you very much for the link:

    If someone might accidentally think that Michael was doing things like that as a publicity stunt let me draw their attention to what Randy Taraborrelli is saying in this video about how Michael reacted when he heard the news of the tragedy.

    Firstly, his breaking into tears was a spontaneous reaction and those who do it for publicity do not react like that. And secondly, those people use every opportunity to demonstrate to the general public ‘how good they are’, while Michael was reluctant to show up at the funeral and draw attention to himself.

    Randy Taraborrelli says, ” One of Michael’s aides told him of the tragedy. And according to eye-witnesses in the studio Michael broke down and wept openly – he was so torn up about this tragedy. He decided at that point that he wanted to be involved”.

    “Michael Jackson was very reluctant to go to the funeral because he was afraid that he would get so much attention and cause so much controversy by his presence that he would take away from the tragedy. But Lisa Marie apparently convinced Michael that his celebrity and the effect of his celebrity should not take away from his feelings.”

    Jackson handed over a check to the Flemmings family. “A substantial check”, says Taraborrelli. “It has been reported to be only $5000 and actually it was close to $50,000 and it is just a start”.


  19. October 27, 2010 8:57 pm

    “The media conveniently prefers to publicize Elton John’s connection with Ryan White. How predictable.”

    Cherie, I think we shouldn’t underestimate the efforts of Elton John either – after all he was at Ryan’s bed when the boy died. However the media don’t talk much of Michael’s involvement with Ryan and if it weren’t for the song ‘Gone too soon’ or Jeanne’s own constant reminders of their friendship no one would care about it at all.

    It is this disproportion or disbalance of opinion which matters here – considering how much attention is paid by the media to some “phanthom victims” whom no one has ever seen, one would expect that much more attention should be paid to a real friend of Michael Jackson to whom he devoted a great deal of his time. But alas – real friends are evidently not so interesting as some fictional ones are…


  20. pez permalink
    October 27, 2010 8:37 pm

    Michael dedicated a 1987 BAD tour concert to a young Japanese boy named Yoshiaki who was kidnapped and murdered.

    This clip shows Michael discussing the tragedy. What a kind, thoughtful, and lovely human being he was.

    Here are other parts of the documentary “Michael Jackson (1440ours) Stay in Japan”. It’s an interesting watch.

    Here’s a lost Ebony/Jet 1987 interview. It’s truly a gem.


  21. pez permalink
    October 27, 2010 8:13 pm

    Demon Dimond’s horrifyingly cold voice unfortunately narrated this clip.


  22. cherie permalink
    October 27, 2010 7:53 pm

    The media conveniently prefers to publicize Elton John’s connection with Ryan White. How predictable. Another day, another dollar (by slighting Michael of course).,,20364767,00.html

    Notice how the mediaLOID idiot says “Jeanne admits she always chaperoned Ryan during his many visits to the Neverland Ranch”

    That little distasteful voice over was has mediaLOID written all over it. I doubt Jeanne ever admitted chaperoning him since she said he spent time with Michael unattended (in past interviews)


  23. October 27, 2010 4:29 pm

    “He really missed Ryan White enough to ask why all of their calls weren’t recorded!”

    Guys, yes, we can see it with a naked eye that Michael did miss Ryan a lot. He liked all children around him but for Ryan he also felt great respect. This young boy was going through all his misfortunes with so much dignity that Michael seemed to be truly impressed and desperately wanted him to withstand the disease no matter what. He felt sorry for him in the same way he felt sorry for Gavin as a cancer patient and showed his great compassion for him because of all the harassment. And Michael really missed Ryan when he was gone – to such a point that his death inspired him to compose a wonderful song, write a poem and produce a video for the boy.

    Just imagine for a second that Ryan was NOT ill with AIDS and died in an accident (for example).

    What would Michael’s haters have said about their ‘relationship’ judging by all Michael did for Ryan? Invited him to Neverland, regularly called him, bought him clothes in a shop, presented him with a watch, a stereo system and a Mustang car and dedicated a song, poem and a video to him? Can you imagine what salacious stories Victor Gutierrez would have made out of it and what questions about Michael’s “weird behavior” Tom Sneddon would have asked at the trial?

    The fact that Ryan was ill with AIDS and that Michael associated with him close enough to go in a Jacuzzi with the boy – while all others were shunning him like plague – is making this story all the more amazing and is putting everything in its right place. It wasn’t just a ‘relationship’ with a boy – it was Michael’s relationship with another human being, which was an attitude typical of his relations with all other children around him, each of whom needed his attention and care for reasons of their own.

    I hate to mention that word again – but NO p. will ever, ever, ever behave in a way which even remotely resembles Michael’s attitude to Ryan White and his mom.

    The way he treated Ryan’s mother after the boy’s death is making me speechless – he kept inviting her to his ranch (she says she spent several vacations there) and Michael kept calling her to say Happy Mother’s day to her many years after Ryan had been gone – he just wanted to replace her son who would have called her had he been alive. Michael was taking care of her….


  24. Denise permalink
    October 27, 2010 5:18 am

    This particular post made me teary eyed. The Lord gave him a generous heart.


  25. Irma permalink
    October 27, 2010 2:31 am

    No no all the twists about the Jacuzzi Issue is so narrow minded!!!!
    I mean,why not just think that all the people and children that spend their spare time in pool at the Hotels or at Jacuzzis are molesting each other? Or even worse,why just not think that all the people that have Jacuzzi at home and invite friends,families with their children,Children who inviting their friends, Close Friends,to have some “POOL DAY” at the Jacuzzi? It’s The MOST Natural And Beautiful Thing In The World!!!!-This Human Nature!!!!
    It Kills Me!!!
    Again,Here We See The Twisted Dirty Sick Society “beliefs”

    By The Way,Ryan Mother’s Itself Said,I Remember I Read It On Michael’s 2005 Trial Transcripts That She Entered The Jacuzzi Too!!!
    So Medialoids,Give Us A BREAK!!!

    Michael’s LOVE,Sweetness,Kindness And Gentlemanly Can’t Be Described With Words! Michael Is Angel Sent From God From Depths Of Heaven!!!
    His Name “Michael” Really Fits Him. The Name “Michael” Comes From The Bible From The Hebrew Name “Mik’hael” Which Means “Who Is Like God” -Or Simply -“Like God” -“God Like”.
    Michael Always Was Spiritual And Always Talked About Jesus,And That It’s Important To Imitate God,Especially About God’s Love For Children
    “Love The Children.”


  26. October 27, 2010 12:26 am

    This is a great post Helena. I didn’t know Ryan had written a book. Those excerpts of Ryan giving insights into his friendship with Michael are wonderful.

    I agree David that quote from Ryan and MJ’s response to his phone call being recorded speak volumes! You are so right, if the medialoids had gotten their hands on that tape it would have been distorted into something completely different. When for MJ, Ryan, and Ryan’s mom it was just a regular everyday conversation between friends.

    When I read MJ’s response ‘Why didn’t you record all of them?’, besides this showing how MJ really missed Ryan and how he would’ve loved to have all of their memories captured. It also showed to me how MJ wasn’t scared & didn’t feel threatened at all that the mom recorded their conversation, because of the simple fact. MJ had nothing to hide!


  27. lcpledwards permalink
    October 26, 2010 11:10 pm

    Excellent post! I went in and bolded the quote from Ryan where he said the following:

    Michael’s not flaky or weird, like you read in those newspapers you can buy in the supermarket.

    That quote speaks volumes, and is typical of what people who actually knew him would say about him! And we all know that “those newspapers you can buy in the supermarket” are the tabloids!

    Another thing that stuck out to me was when Ryan’s mom admitted that she recorded one of his phone calls, and instead of being upset, MJ asked why didn’t she record all of them!!

    Wow! His anger certainly would have been justified, as those phone calls could have been sold to the tabloids, and then highly edited and manipulated for their own exploitative services. But for him to respond the way he did is an indication of his character! He really missed Ryan White enough to ask why all of their calls weren’t recorded!



  1. Fact Checking Michael Jackson’s Christian Faith, Part 7 of 7: Judging Michael « Vindicating Michael
  2. How to Recognize and Refute the Fallacies Used by Michael Jackson Haters, Part 1 of 5 « Fan Blog for MJ
  3. How to Recognize and Refute the Fallacies Used By Michael Jackson Haters, Part 1 of 5 « Vindicating Michael
  4. The Ryan White Story – Gone Too Soon | LASS

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