The past' />

As news of Michael Jackson's death sweeps the world, many fans have been quick to question the reports' veracity - and with good reason.

The past six months have seen the world's media report a string of ailments and illnesses plaguing the star - including cancer, flesh-eating diseases and a genetic lung disease.

Some were categorically denied by Jackson's camp, while others were too bizarre to fathom.

We look back on the most recent alleged health scares, leading up to the singer's untimely death.

December 2008:

Biographer Ian Halperin claimed Michael Jackson was battling an illness that left him half-blind and in dire need of a lung transplant.

Halperin said the singer was suffering from a disease called Alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency or A1AD a genetic disorder that depletes a protein that protects both the liver and lungs.

While the world's tabloids reported the story as fact, Jackson's camp denied the claims and said Halperin's actions were a publicity stunt.

An official spokesman said: "The writer's wild allegations concerning Mr. Jackson's health are a total fabrication. Mr. Jackson is in fine health, and finalizing negotiations with a major entertainment company & television network for both a world tour and a series of specials and appearances."

February 2009:

Britain's Sun tabloid claimed Jackson had developed a potentially flesh eating disease following surgery.

The claims came after Jackson was photographed outside a health clinic, with blotchy discolouration and swollen markings on his hands and face.

The paper said the singer may have contracted a staph infection following cosmetic surgery on his nose.

May 2009:

In May, Britain's Telegraph newspaper reported the 50-year-old singer had been diagnosed with skin cancer after doctors noticed spots of skin cancer on his neck and precancerous cells on his face.

The paper said the disease was treatable and not expected to affect his string of comeback shows in London this July.