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MJ -- If Not for Kids He Would 'Choose Death'

9/26/2009 11:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a close friend of Michael Jackson, is releasing tapes of interviews he did with Jackson that show how Jackson was afraid of growing old ... and Madonna.

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In the tapes, which aired on "Dateline" last night, Jackson said children were very important to him: "If it weren't for children, I would choose death."

As for his infamous date with Madonna, he remembers that she didn't want to go to Disneyland and he didn't want to go to a strip club. Both are sometimes considered the happiest place on Earth.

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