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HE WAS a pop icon loved by millions but known by few.Yet the two men who knew Michael Jackson best in the final two years of his life - the bodyguards who protected him around the clock - reveal a sad, isolated and paranoid man who romanced mystery women, was in such financial difficulties that he could not pay staff and whose credit cards were often declined.Jackson trusted them with his life, his children and his secrets.

The King of Pop's life is revealed in Remember The Time by Whitfield and Beard and published today.They reveal he enjoyed secret rendezvous with two women he gave the code names Flower and Friend.According to Whitfield the latter was "drop-dead gorgeous" with an Eastern European accent.Flower would come a few days after Friend had left and Jackson would repeat his clandestine sex sessions.

The bodyguards also emphasise that the singer was a devoted father to his children Prince, now 17, Paris, aged 16 and Blanket, 12."He was an awesome father," insists Whitfield."The kids would constantly tell him, 'I love you daddy.' He was everything to them.

One £6,000 spending spree ended when his credit card was rejected.