The King of Pop was about to launch a comeback tour that would put him firmly back on top of the music world. But then, on June 25, 2009, the world was rocked by the news that Michael Jackson was dead. The pop star died due to an overdose, less than three weeks before his first show on the This Is It tour. Jackson was just 50 years old. Just 24 hours earlier the former child star had been busy preparing for his tour. Those who spent the day with him have said he never looked better.
His long-time choreographer, Travis Payne, had spent the afternoon of June 24 working with Jackson. As usual, rehearsals started between noon and 1 pm. It was the first time Jacko and his team had run through the whole show top to bottom. Dorian Holley, Jackson's vocal director, told CNN, "He was sharp, there was no indication there was something wrong. Jackson's musical director, Michael Bearden, was also with the star at his final rehearsal. He said, "You could see his confidence growing and you could see that physically he was able to do all the things that he wanted to do."After training for almost 12 hours, Jackson left the Staples Centre where he had been working with his team at around midnight. Heartbreakingly, as he walked out he gave Dorian a hug and said, "I love you, Mike". It was the Thriller hitmaker's final goodbye to the team who had been with him for so long.
Jackson had suffered from chronic insomnia for years. Long-time confident J Randy Taraborrelli said, "I used to say and I still believe that Michael would have paid a million dollars for a good night's sleep."He was so dependant on medication that he struggled to sleep without the use of sedatives. Back at home Jackson's live-in doctor, Dr Conrad Murray was about to make a series of fatal decisions that would end with the superstar's death. Dr Murray, who was paid $150,000 a month, started trying to get the singer, who was repeatedly said "I must be ready for England" to sleep. First, he gave some Valium at 1.30am but by 2 am, with Jackson still unable to sleep, the doctor injected him with the anti-anxiety drug, Ativan. It was administered via a drip in Jackson's bedroom, which, when police arrived, was littered with bottles of pills, vials, syringes, oxygen tanks, and drips.
At 3 am Jackson was still wide awake and Dr Murray gave him a second sedative, Versed. Throughout the night, the Bad singer was given another two more doses of Ativan and two of Versed but nothing was working and he couldn't sleep. Dr Murray has always claimed it was Jackson himself who asked to be given propofol, the drug that killed him. Propofol is given to patients in hospital before and during surgery and Dr Murray admitted he had given the star doses of the powerful drug for 60 nights running up to June 22. He claimed he was trying to wean Jackson off propofol but he insists the increasingly desperate star had begged him for one more dose. Having been awake all night, Jackson was given the propofol, which he dubbed "milk", at 10:40 am on June 25.
Dr Murray has always said that he had to the necessary equipment to monitor the star, including heart monitors and machines to check his oxygen levels. Ten ministered after he had administered the dose by drip, Dr Murray says he went to the toilet, leaving Jackson alone. But when he got back, his patient wasn't breathing. However, police phone records have cast doubt on Dr Murray's timeline and suggest it was closer to midday before he noticed something was wrong. Dr Murray says he immediately started resuscitation attempts on the star and administered CPR. The doctor has claimed the reason he didn't call emergency services immediately was because he was too busy trying to save Jackson's life. Finally, he shouted for Alberto Alvarez, one of the singer's security guards, to come into the bedroom and clear away vials, bottles, and drips before dialing 911.
That call wasn't made until 12.21pm, almost two hours after the fatal dose had been administered. By now, the rest of Jackson's house had realised something was terribly wrong and the panic had started to spread. Tragically, his two eldest children, Prince and Paris, were caught up in this and were absolutely distraught that their father was fighting for his life. The first paramedics at the scene were stunned by the scene before them. They didn't immediately recognise Jackson and Richard Senneff, one of the emergency responders, initially thought he had been called to an emergency involving a terminally ill patient. Jackson was pale, underweight and surrounded by a drip and vials of medication. He was rushed by ambulance to the UCLA medical center where medics desperately tried to save his life. But an hour and 13 minutes after he had arrived at the hospital, Jackson was declared dead.
News of his death broke at 2.44pm in the US - 10.44pm in the UK. Fans across the world were distraught their idol was dead. Dr Conrad Murray, Jackson's personal physician, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011. He was jailed for four years but served less than half of his sentence.Read More