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Ian Halperin

Ian Halperin

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MONTREAL - A small Montreal publishing house appears to have struck a gold mine with the death of pop superstar Michael Jackson.Transit Media Inc.

will start the presses rolling Tuesday morning on what is expected to be a 354-page, hardcover biography of the freshly deceased entertainment icon.About 50 pages are being added during a frantic rewrite by author Ian Halperin following Jackson's death at his Los Angeles home last Thursday afternoon, Pierre Turgeon said Saturday.Turgeon, who is the book's publisher and president of Transit Media, said the book had been prepared in the run-up to Jackson's series of 50 London concerts.``We weren't expecting this,'' he added of Jackson's death, attributed to cardiac arrest by news reports.The book had already been titled Michael Jackson: The Last Days, Turgeon added.Because of the intense public interest in his life and death that surfaced with the demise of the reclusive superstar, sales of the hardcover version in the United States alone could reach ``between 500,000 and one million,'' Turgeon predicted.Reached by phone, author Halperin said he could not comment.But in a lengthy story under his byline posted Saturday night on the website of a British newspaper, the Daily Mail, Halperin suggested that Jackson had become an anorexic and also that he may have suffered from a medical condition called Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, the lack of a protein that can help protect the lungs.Turgeon revealed the last-minute rewrite of the Jackson book after Judge Pierre Journet of Quebec Superior Court issued a provisional injunction prohibiting Transit Media from selling or promoting another book - an unauthorized biography of Cirque du Soleil kingpin Guy Laliberte, also written by Halperin - as long as it features a photo showing performer Maria Silaeva of the show Alegria on its cover.``This is a Pyrrhic victory'' for the Laliberte forces, Turgeon declared.The book has already sold 16,000 copies in French - its full press run, he said - and about 6,000 of the 10,000 English-language copies printed.The judge acted on the basis that use of the photo on the cover was an infringement of Cirque du Soleil's copyright.Turgeon said he intends to inform the book's English-language distributor, Georgetown Terminal Warehouse Inc., of the ruling.``They will then inform the booksellers,'' he added.The Laliberte forces ``haven't attacked us on the contents of the book, or the veracity of the facts,'' Turgeon stated.Montreal [email protected] Copyright (c) Canwest News Service
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