LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Michael Jackson's father is declaring in the strongest terms yet that he and his wife have sole authority over the late pop star's affairs.

Joe Jackson's publicist read a statement at the BET awards in Los Angeles Sunday saying he and his wife Katherine solely have authority for their late son and his children.

The children, the statement says, are their first priority now.

The statement says the family's lawyer, L. Londell McMillan, is the only person who can speak on behalf of the Jacksons.

It also says the family sincerely thanks everyone around the world for the love and support they've received since Michael Jackson's death Thursday.