William Murrell says his body was mummified instead

James Brown‘s body has never been buried, according to his former chauffeur.

Speaking to The Guardian, William Murrell claimed that despite dying in 2006, the iconic singer had instead been mummified so his body would never decompose.

“He’s been dead since 2006 but he still hasn’t been buried – he’s been at his daughter’s house,” said Murrell. “They muminized [sic] his body so he would never rot, at $140,000 cost. Why? When you got almost 20 kids and six wives it’s hard to get you in the ground.”

Brown, who married only three times and actually fathered nine legitimate children, died of congestive heart failure and pneumonia. In 2010, his reported love child LaRhonda Pettit claimed that his body had been stolen from a crypt in order to prevent an autopsy being carried out. However, both a funeral director and another of Brown’s children, Deanna Brown Thomas, subsequently denied her allegations.

Murrell also told a story about how he drove another passenger, singer Michael Jackson, to Brown’s funeral. He described Jackson as a “pretty cool guy” although he noted that “to see him in real life was real scary – his skin colour was white and his hands were white”. According to Murrell, Jackson spent an hour with the body as he “wanted to spend some time” with his idol and also “put a little curl in his hair, like Jackson’s own”.

A James Brown biopic titled Get On Up and co-produced by Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger is set to be released in the UK later this month (November 21). The film stars Chadwick Boseman, who is best known for playing baseball legend Jackie Robinson in the 2013 film 42. Co-stars include Blues Brother Dan Aykroyd, neo soul artist Jill Scott and former New Edition member Ralph Tresvant. In addition, Brandon Mychal Smith will star as Little Richard, with Missing actor Nick Eversman playing Jagger.

Click below to watch a trailer.