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Album of unheard Michael Jackson songs to be released in May

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Eight previously unreleased songs by the late Michael Jackson will be part of a new album, "Xscape," the singer's estate and Sony Music Entertainment's Epic Records said on Monday.

The songs were unearthed from Jackson's archive of recorded material by L.A. Reid, the chairman and chief executive of Epic Records. "Xscape" will be released on May 13.

The new album is the latest venture for Jackson's estate to capitalize on the posthumous popularity of the King of Pop.

Jackson died in 2009 at age 50 in Los Angeles from an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol given to him by his personal physician while he was rehearsing for a series of 50 comeback concerts in London.

The unreleased tracks have been re-produced by the likes of present-day hitmakers Jerome "Jroc" Harmon, who has helped produce hits for Beyonce and Justin Timberlake, and Norwegian duo Tor Hermansen and Mikkel Eriksen, who work under the name Stargate and have produced hits for Rihanna and Selena Gomez.

Top pop producers Rodney Jerkins and John McClain were also enlisted to make the songs sound contemporary in style, Reid said.

One of the songs is called "Xscape," which was taken for the album title to continue Jackson's tradition of using a one-word song title on the album for its name, Reid said.

The age of the material or the remaining song names have yet to be released. Hip hop and pop producer Timbaland will be executive producer of the album.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Mary Milliken and James Dalgleish)

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