The death of Michael Jackson on June 25, 2009, was a shock to the world. The iconic pop star, known for his electrifying and jaw-dropping performances, groundbreaking music, and immense influence on popular culture and the masses, Michael Jackson was only 50 years old when he passed away. The cause of his death was initially attributed to cardiac arrest, but as more details came out, questions began to arise about the circumstances surrounding his untimely demise.
Despite years of investigation and speculation, the truth about Michael Jackson’s death remains elusive and controversial.
In this article, we will explore the unexplained death of Michael Jackson, delving into the events leading up to his passing, the various theories about what happened, and the ongoing debates about who, if anyone, was responsible for the tragedy that rocked the music world.
As a fan boy or fan girl have you ever tried to imitate the iconic moonwalk of our “King of Pop” Michael Jackson? Well, I can bet on this. We all tried it every once in a while, watching him perform on television or while jamming to his music catalogue. Many of you grew up watching Michael Jackson perform on grand stages across the world among the masses of millions.
Then one day you hear news of Michael Jackson’s untimely death due to cardiac arrest. Your heart would have shattered into thousands of pieces at that very moment. A global superstar died, leaving behind millions of fans and thousands of songs that represent his “magnum opus” and his title of the greatest entertainer of all time.
On 25th June 2009, Michael Jackson died due to acute propofol intoxication and overdose in Los Angeles County coroner, California, at the very age of 50. His physician Dr Conrad Murray said he found Michael Jackson in his room at the North Carolwood Drive Home area of the city and Jackson was not breathing and had a weak pulse rate.
Michael Jackson was administered CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) but it doesn’t cause much help and security called a 911 Ambulance. Paramedics tried their best to revive Jackson but he was declared dead at that very moment at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
Sometime later on 28 August 2009, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner concluded that Michael Jackson died due to homicide.
He was administered propofol and anti-anxiety drugs by his doctor.
Jackson doctor Conrad Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and found guilty. Conrad Murray has been sentenced to jail for two years in November 2011 and got released in 2013 on the grounds of good behaviour.
Before Jackson died he was preparing for a series of comeback mass concerts that were due to begin in JULY 2009 at the London O2 arena.
On 24th June Jackson arrived at the Staples Center, in Los Angeles. A magician named Ed Alonzo met Jackson and he jokingly complained about “Laryngitis” to Alonzo.
Jackson returned to his home at 12:30 am the following morning and went to sleep an hour later.
Jackson was suffering from prolonged insomnia and was on drugs that helped him to sleep at night.
According to Murray’s testimony, he administered several drugs including diazepam, ativan, lorazepam, and midazolam to help Jackson sleep. Despite the injections, Jackson was still awake and kept asking for “milk,” which was a code word for propofol, a potent sedative he had previously used for sleep.
At 10:40 AM, Murray gave in to Jackson’s request and administered 25 milligrams of propofol mixed with lidocaine. Finally, Jackson fell asleep, and Murray left the room briefly to use the bathroom. Upon returning two minutes later, he found that Jackson was not breathing and had a faint pulse.
During the trial, Murray testified that he attempted to revive Jackson for approximately ten minutes by administering flumazenil and performing CPR. After his efforts proved unsuccessful, Murray sought help from the staff present in the house. The recording of the emergency call, released on June 26, a day after Jackson’s death, revealed that Murray had performed CPR on a bed, which was not the standard protocol. Instead of using both hands for chest compression, Murray placed one hand underneath Jackson and used the other for compression.
Murray did not call 911 immediately, citing the absence of a landline phone and the lack of knowledge about the exact address of the house as the reasons for the delay.
However, it was later discovered that Murray had made several private calls on his cell phone, which he failed to disclose to law enforcement, in the hour after discovering Jackson’s condition. It was not until a security guard called 911 at 12:21 pm, almost an hour and a half later Jackson was first found not breathing, that paramedic arrived on the scene at 12:26 p.m. to find Jackson without a pulse and not breathing.
After being found unresponsive, paramedics performed CPR for 42 minutes at the house before rushing Jackson to the hospital. According to Murray’s lawyer, Jackson had a pulse when he was taken out of the house and placed in the ambulance.
However, an official from LAFD contradicted this account, stating that paramedics discovered Jackson in “full cardiac arrest” and saw no change in his condition during the journey to the hospital. Upon arrival at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center around 1:14 pm, a team of medical professionals attempted to revive Jackson for more than an hour.
Despite their best efforts, they were unable to save him, and Jackson was pronounced dead at 2:26 pm at the age of 50. That was a flashback of our “King of Pop” last moments, in which he tried to save for his legacy and for the sake of the value that he added to this world with his phenomenal and fascinating journey.
3. Investigations That Shaped the Case
3.1 Autopsie Procedure
Michael Jackson’s body was taken to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office where a three-hour autopsy was performed. The family arranged for a second autopsy which found no evidence of foul play. The Los Angeles County Coroner later determined that Jackson’s death was a homicide due to acute propofol intoxication exacerbated by other drugs. The autopsy revealed that Jackson was otherwise healthy for his age, with his most significant health issue being chronic lung inflammation that did not contribute to his death.
3.2 Role of Law Enforcement
- After Michael Jackson’s death, an investigation was conducted by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to trace the complex trail of prescription drugs supplied to Jackson.
- The LAPD announced that the case would be referred to prosecutors and medical records were subpoenaed from doctors who had treated Jackson. Although the police considered homicide charges against those who had supplied drugs to Jackson, they did not bring charges against anyone.
- The case raised concerns about the chain of custody, but the police maintained that they had followed protocol. California Attorney General Jerry Brown also announced the creation of a statewide database of all medical doctors and prescriptions filled.
3.3 Drug Use Allegations
- According to Marc Schaffel, Jackson’s former video producer, the singer used propofol, alprazolam, and sertraline among other drugs.
- Police found drugs, including propofol, in his home after his death, some of which had false labels. Jackson’s friend, Eugene Aksenoff, expressed concern about Jackson’s use of drugs, including skin-whitening medications.
- Janet Jackson claimed that the family tried to intervene in early 2007 but was turned away by security guards. The family denied this claim.
3.4 Propofol “The Sleep Inducing” Drug
- Investigations following Michael Jackson’s death revealed that he had used several drugs, including propofol, alprazolam, sertraline, omeprazole, hydrocodone, paroxetine, carisoprodol, and hydromorphone.
- The use of propofol, a powerful anaesthetic typically used in hospitals during surgery, was of particular concern as it was found in several bottles at Jackson’s home. Jackson had reportedly asked for propofol from his nurse to help him sleep, but she refused. His friend, Dr Farshchian, expressed concern about Jackson’s use of various drugs and suspected that excessive use of skin-whitening medications or steroids may have contributed to his symptoms.
- Additionally, nurse Cherilyn Lee who worked as a nutritionist for Jackson said that Jackson told her about a doctor who told him “propofol is safe for insomnia”. Arnold Klein revealed that an anesthesiologist had administered propofol to help Jackson sleep during a tour in Germany.
3.5 Medical Professionals Who Were Involved
- Law enforcement officials, specifically the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), were investigating several doctors who had prescribed drugs to Michael Jackson.
- The focus of the investigation was to determine whether these doctors had a “face-to-face” relationship with Jackson and if they had made proper diagnoses by legal requirements.
- At least nine doctors were being investigated, and the police had planned to question 30 medical professionals, including Arnold Klein, a doctor who had admitted to giving Jackson pethidine to help sedate him. Klein stated that he had not administered any stronger drugs to Jackson and had turned over his records to the medical examiner.
4. Health of Our “King of Pop”
- According to biographer Stacy Brown, Michael Jackson had become very frail, and significantly underweight, and his family had expressed concern for his health. J. Randy Taraborrelli, another biographer, also noted that Jackson had struggled with addiction to painkillers intermittently for many years.
- Additionally, Jackson’s dermatologist, Arnold Klein, confirmed that Jackson had misused prescription drugs and that he had been diagnosed with vitiligo and lupus.
- However, Klein stated that when he saw Jackson three days before his death, he appeared to be in good physical condition, dancing for Klein’s patients, mentally alert, and in a positive mood.
5. Family Members and Legal Affairs
5.1 Family Member’s Reaction
- La Toya the sister of Michael Jackson believed that her brother’s death was related to his music catalogue. Michael Jackson’s family expressed concerns about the role of AEG Live, the promoter of his This Is It concert, in the weeks leading up to his death.
- After Murray was charged with manslaughter, Jackson’s father filed a wrongful death lawsuit against him, but later dropped it. Jackson’s mother and children sued AEG Live, alleging negligence in hiring Murray, but the jury found in favour of AEG.
- Michael Jackson’s family believed that he was murdered, and Paris Jackson the daughter of Michael Jackson stated in 2017 that she was “absolutely” convinced about this.
5.2 Legal Affairs
- In July 2009, attorney John Branca filed Michael Jackson’s last will at the Los Angeles County courthouse. The will, signed in 2002, named Branca and accountant John McClain as executors and gave all assets to the Michael Jackson Family Trust, whose details have not been disclosed.
- Jackson’s net worth in 2007 was reported to be $236.6 million, with $567.6 million in assets, including Neverland Ranch and his 50% share of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, and $331 million in debts. His mother, Katherine, was named the guardian of his three children, with singer Diana Ross as an alternate.
- Jackson also designated 20% of his fortune and 20% of his posthumous earnings to charity. The settlement of Jackson’s estate was expected to take many years, given the estimated $1.5 billion value of Sony/ATV Music Publishing.
- In 2016, Sony acquired Jackson’s share of the company from his estate for $750 million.
6. Reactions After Jackson’s Death
- The sudden death of Michael Jackson in 2009 was first reported by TMZ, causing an immediate overload of web traffic that crashed multiple websites.
- Jackson’s death dominated news coverage for days, with commemorative editions being published, and specials about Jackson airing on television stations around the world.
- In a global media analysis released by the Global Language Monitor (GLM), Jackson’s death became the ninth-most-covered news item 72 hours after it occurred. After Obama’s election, Jackson ranked second on the Internet and social media. Jackson was discussed by commentators for his work and for being a “profoundly tragic figure”.
- He became the ninth-most-covered news item in global print and electronic media, and the second-most-covered topic on the internet and social media. Some commentators criticized the excessive media attention given to his death, while others mourned his loss and discussed his life and legacy.
- Jackson’s family paid a social media marketing company to increase his Twitter following.
- After Michael Jackson’s death on June 25, 2009, several musicians, performers, and other figures paid tribute to him in various ways. Some performed covers of his songs, while others released tribute songs or made statements of remembrance.
- Tributes were held in locations around the world, and his death was acknowledged during events such as the BET Awards and the MTV Video Music Awards. Jackson was also posthumously honoured at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards and featured in the “In Memoriam” segment of the 82nd Academy Awards ceremony.
- Additionally, a statue of Jackson was erected in Rio de Janeiro, and many public memorials were held in locations around the world.
- The “Essential Michael Jackson” and his 1982 landmark song “Thriller”, became an anthem among his fans to continue his legacy until eternity.
- A memorial service was held at Staples Center on July 7, 2009, where fans, stars, and celebrities paid tribute to Jackson.
7. Journey Come to an End, “The Burial”
- Michael Jackson’s original burial date was August 29, 2009, which was later changed to September 3, 2009, where his family members, first wife Lisa Marie Presley, and friends such as Macaulay Culkin, Chris Tucker, Quincy Jones, Eddie Murphy, and Elizabeth Taylor attended his funeral and burial at Glendale’s Forest Lawn Memorial Park.
- The funeral cost $1 million, including $590,000 for Jackson’s crypt. His remains are interred in the Holly Terrace section of the Great Mausoleum of Forest Lawn Memorial Park, and the family had considered burying him at Neverland Ranch but decided against it due to objections from some family members and the need for permits. Security at the mausoleum was increased in July 2010 due to vandalism by fans leaving a permanent ink message.
- Jackson’s Funeral became the most-watched daytime funeral on different forms of media platforms just behind the record of “Princess Diana” from 1997.
We all know that every journey has this ending but we never expect that kind of ending for our “King of Pop”, the “Heartthrob” of millions, to have an end like this. He may have left us soon but we had the responsibility of carrying his art of work sustainably for the sake of our future generations. So, they can see and watch, what kind of artist Michael Jackson used to be. What if may, this conservation of Jackson Magnum Opus will help our future generation to learn about what real pop was and the real deal around it?
In conclusion, the death of Michael Jackson remains a controversial and mysterious topic even years after his passing. Although the official cause of death was attributed to acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication, the circumstances surrounding his death are still unclear and subject to speculation and debate. Various theories have been put forward, including medical malpractice, negligence, and foul play, but no definitive conclusion has been reached. The death of the King of Pop continues to be a source of fascination and curiosity for many, and his legacy as a musician and entertainer lives on.
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