Michael Jackson Felt 'Young' at 50, Never Reached 51

Michael Jackson may be gone, but that won't stop thousands of fans from around the world from celebrating the King of Pop on what would have been his 51st birthday.

Only a year ago, on the eve of his 50th birthday, Jackson was planning a much more low-key celebration of cake and cartoons with his three children when he spoke with ABC News' Chris Connelly exclusively by phone from his home in California.

VIDEO: Anti-anxiety medications and marijuana may have caused Jackson?s death.
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In Jackson's final television interview before his death on June 25, the pop superstar dropped hints of a comeback in the works. He boasted about still having his signature moves – and showing off some new ones – saying his greatest achievements lay ahead.

Jackson died as he was mounting his comeback tour in London, doing what he told Connelly he loved the most: performing.

For Jackson's 51st birthday, ABCNews.com is republishing the original exclusive interview, including many passages that was left out of our story last year:

Connelly: Michael, happy birthday! How are you?

Dr. Murray
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Jackson: God bless you. I am fine thank you.

Connelly: How do you feel turning 50?

Jackson: Oh, I don't feel any different. I am fine actually – I am just having a wonderful time. Just relaxing, I am just watching a little James Brown show right now.

Connelly: Is that right?

Jackson: I love James Brown, yes.

Connelly: As you look back on 50 years, when do you think you were the happiest?

Jackson: The happiest? Oh boy, probably the recording of "Thriller" and the "Off the Wall" albums. That meant very much to me and seemed to be received so beautifully by the public and the world, you know. It was a time I enjoyed it very much.

VIDEO: Contributor Chris Connelly looks at the musician?s health leading up to his tour.
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Connelly: What was the most special thing about that experience for you? What moment do you remember most happily?

Jackson: That I could compose and write music and get to share it with the masses and the people around the world and to have them to receive it so beautifully – I love that. That's what I spend a lot of time doing. I love composing and writing music and dancing and performing and conceptualizing creatively for visual mediums. I love to create.

Michael Jackson on His Success

Connelly: If you could pick one song, which one song is your greatest achievement?

Jackson: Oh boy, that's a hard one. I love 'We are the world' to 'Billie Jean,' to 'Thriller,' to so many different songs.

Connelly: As you look back on your career Michael, what would you have done differently?

Jackson: Differently? Oh boy, that's a hard one. I am still l looking forward to doing a lot of great things, so that's hard. I think the best is yet to come in my true humble opinion.

Connelly: Is there anything you sacrificed by having this amazing career, 40 years and counting?

Jackson: A lot of hard work, discipline and love and learning about the craft and loving it. Time -- sacrificing your time and your scheduling. Your childhood – giving up your life for the medium.

Connelly: If you had it to do over again, would you do it the same way or would you do anything differently? I think I would, I think I would. It is very much worth it – I have I always loved show business and have always enjoyed making people happy through that medium. I love the celebration of music and dance and art – I just love it.

Connelly: Are we going to see you tour any time soon?

Jackson: I don't have any dates set, but we are planning something soon. Yes we are.

Connelly: Any chance for another CD or recorded music in the near future.

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