February 24, 1999 12:00 AM

Michael Jackson’s wife has denied a report from Italy that her 2-year-old son Prince was near death. Debbie Rowe Jackson told the local NBC station in Los Angeles that the couple’s son “is not dying. He has a virus infection and is going to be fine.” She said her son was out of the country with his father when he got sick Saturday, and the doctors were unable to get his fever down. Michael Jackson canceled a concert this week in Italy, where reports circulated that his son was dying. Concert co-star Luciano Pavarotti announced from the stage that Jackson would not be appearing and that the audience should pray for the child.

  • In other news that broke yesterday, investigators are seeking to determine whether an American Airlines pilot had adequate warning of a fierce hailstorm that struck the Little Rock airport just before his jet, which was attempting to land there, slid off the runway and burst into flames. Scores of passengers, their clothes drenched with fuel, escaped the burning plane just before midnight Tuesday by squeezing through a twisted emergency exit and scrambling out gaping holes in the fuselage. Some jumped off a burning wing into a swamp. Nine of the 145 people on board were killed, including the pilot.

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