Colin Powell says Michael Jackson had controversy in his life, but in death his art should be celebrated.
The retired general and former secretary of state said he was in Vietnam, Korea or stationed elsewhere during Jackson's heyday.
"So he's not quite of my generation but his art spanned three generations and is worthy of all the tribute that he is receiving for his art," Powell said in a television interview set to air Sunday.
Powell said his most vivid memory of Jackson is of the young boy performing with his brothers in the Jackson 5. He said the Jacksons were "fresh, exciting kids with the 'fros in the early '70s and singing those wonderful songs."
Jackson, who died June 25, had been plagued with heavy debts, allegations of child abuse and use of prescription drugs.
"Yes, there were some challenges in his life," Powell told CNN's "State of the Union," which released excerpts of the interview ahead of the broadcast. "Yes, there was a great deal of controversy about him. But he's now passed on. Let's celebrate his art."