NEW YORK — Jermaine Jackson says he would like to see Neverland Ranch as his brother Michael's final resting place.
In an interview broadcast Thursday on NBC's "Today" show, Jermaine Jackson also said he wishes he had died instead of his younger brother, and that Michael was "a gift from Allah."
"He went too soon. I don't know how people are going to take this, but I wish it was me," Jermaine Jackson said.
When asked why he felt that way, Jermaine Jackson said he always felt that he was Michael's "backbone."
"Someone to be there for him. I was there and he was sort of like Moses. Things he couldn't say, I would say them. During the trials, during everything ..."
Jermaine Jackson said that when he rushed to UCLA Medical Center last Thursday, where the 50-year-old pop singer was pronounced dead, "I wanted to see Michael, and I wanted to see my brother, and seeing him there lifeless and breathless was very emotional for me, but I held myself together because I know he's very much alive."
"His spirit is, and that was just a shell, but I kissed him on his forehead and I hugged him, and I touched him and I said, `Michael, I'll never leave you. You'll never leave me.'"
On Wednesday, Jackson family spokesman Ken Sunshine said a public memorial was in the works but it wouldn't be held at Neverland.
A person familiar with the situation told the AP that permits for a burial at the sprawling Santa Barbara, Calif., estate could not be arranged in time. The person was not authorized to speak for the family and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Jackson said Neverland was Michael's home.
"He created this. Why wouldn't he be here? I feel his presence."
(This version SUBS graf 5 to correct to 'Moses' from 'molded.')