Michael Jackson's Last Moments: Documents Reveal Tour Promoters Knew of Singer's Addictions, Psychological Issues
In the parade of celebrity deaths that occur each year, one will never sit quite right, and always stick with us like a lump in the throat: Michael Jackson. To say the iconic pop-star was a complicated man is the understatement of the century. But one thing's for sure, Jackson's death was an untimely, shocking, and tragic conclusion to a life that brought joy to so many people.
Prior to his death, in 2009 Jackson had been preparing to take his "This Is It" concert on the road, a comeback tour that never came to pass. The loss of Jackson left the world asking "What happened?" Now, with e-mails leaked from Jackson's tour promoters, we're beginning to have a clearer answer of what really happened to the King of Pop. And it's not pretty picture.
Like Us on Facebook
Leaked emails between Michael Jackson's tour promoters in which the singer is described as an "emotionally paralyzed mess" reveal executives knew of concerns about his health prior to the ill-fated comeback tour in London.
"Self-loathing and doubt" led the King of Pop to drink himself into an incoherent mess as AEG's Randy Phillips wrote to his boss,"MJ is locked in his room drunk and despondent. I [am] trying to sober him up ... I screamed at him so loud the walls are shaking. He is an emotionally paralyzed mess riddled with self loathing and doubt now that it is show time."
The 250 pages worth of leaked emails, which the company calls "incomplete and leaked to portray the company in a negative light," will most likely be used as evidence in two current lawsuits against AEG.
On top of the tour's insurers asking a judge to nullify a $17.5-million policy, the Jackson family has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit. Heirs to his fortune allege that AEG pressured MJ to perform even though there were clear indications he was not strong enough to do so.
Based on this next excerpt, it sounds like the Jacksons may have a strong case. The iconic entertainer disappeared shortly before he was scheduled to appear in London in March 2009 to announce the tour, which prompted AEG Live exec Paul Gongaware to write:
"We are holding all the risk. We let Mikey know just what this will cost him in terms of him making money.... We cannot be forced into stopping this, which MJ will try to do because he is lazy and constantly changes his mind to fit his immediate wants. He is locked. He has no choice ... he signed a contract."
It seems like the Los Angeles-based company had far too much money invested to stop and consider that Jackson really wasn't actually physically or mentally able to do the job.
Following a string of missed rehearsals and erratic behavior, tour director Kenny Ortega asked for a psychiatric evaluation while writing,"There are strong signs of paranoia, anxiety and obsessive-like behavior."
"I think the very best thing we can do is get a top Psychiatrist in to evaluate him ASAP. It is like there are two people there. One (deep inside) trying to hold on to what he was and still can be and not wanting us to quit him, the other in this weakened and troubled state. I believe we need professional guidance in this matter."
The documents reveal that Jackson apparently never underwent a medical requested by his health insurer, Lloyd's. A Lloyd's underwriter wrote that the insurer had sought medical records and details about Jackson's daily fitness program but requests were met "always with no response".
AEG suggested Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician who was convicted of Jackson's involuntary manslaughter last year, provide one but Lloyd's reportedly refused.
AEG's lawyer Marvin Putnam said: "If you are in the creative arts business, you are going to be involved with individuals who have a great many problems. Michael Jackson was an adult and ... it is supercilious to say he was unable to take care of his own affairs."
Jackson stopped breathing in his bedroom on June 25, 2009 after suffering cardiac arrest while intoxicated with benzodiazepine and propofol, a surgical anesthetic that Dr. Conrad Murray used to treat his insomnia.
The day of Jackson's death, around 15 percent of Twitter posts - or 5,000 tweets per minute - reportedly mentioned Jackson after the news broke, compared to the five percent recalled as having mentioned the Iranian elections or the flu pandemic that had made headlines earlier in the year. Overall, web traffic ranged from 11 percent to at least 20 percent higher than normal.