It is not yet known what caused Michael Jackson's death, but according to the promoter of the London shows the singer was gearing up for, the 50-year-old self-proclaimed King of Pop was in good health before his sudden death on Thursday (June 25) and massive efforts were made to save his life.
Speaking to England's Sky News, AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips said he was at the hospital last week when Jackson was rushed in after suffering cardiac arrest. He said he got a call from the singer's manager, Frank DiLeo, Thursday morning in which DiLeo implored him to go to the Beverly Hills-area mansion the singer was renting because paramedics had been called when Jackson stopped breathing. "As I was approaching the house the ... the ambulance was just coming out of the gates," he said.
"They brought him in on a stretcher and they put him into the emergency room," Phillips said. "I was sitting in a chair right outside the ... operating room, and there was tons of activity, and they were trying to resuscitate him and save him and working really hard, the doctors, nurses, everybody ... I sat there ... it seemed, honestly, it seemed like an eternity. But it took about an hour, an hour and a half before the nurse came out and told Frank (DiLeo) and I that there was no hope."
Phillips described his emotions as "just shock" when he was given the news. "Having been with him the night before and watching him engaged and really kicking into the whole thing ... I guess first the kids, they were around the corner in a room and who was going to tell them? That was the first thing that hit my mind. And then the fact that we've all lost this incredible talent."
Phillips said it was Jackson's cardiologist, Conrad Murray — whom police have interviewed at least twice since the singer's passing — who broke the news to Jackson's three young children that their father had died. A spokesperson for Phillips did not return requests for further comment from the AEG boss at press time.
"I stood at the doorway when they went in and they told them and just the look of fear in their faces ... it was hard," Phillips said. "I'll think about that the rest of my life. But they seem to be doing really well now." Phillips said he had tried to dissuade Jackson from hiring Murray as his personal doctor because of the costs involved, but that the strong-willed singer insisted on having Murray on staff throughout the rehearsals and the run of English shows, saying he had been his personal physician for more than three years.
"Michael told me, 'You don't understand. My body is the machine that fuels this business and I need personal care and I want a doctor 24/7 like President Obama would have and this is my doctor,' " Phillips explained. A nurse told The Associated Press that Jackson had repeatedly begged her for a powerful anesthetic used only by trained medical professionals in a clinical setting to treat his chronic insomnia, but that she had refused. Attorneys for Murray have denied that the doctor injected Jackson with any of the strong pain medications he is said to have been taking prior to his death.
Less than 12 hours before, at the end of a long day of rehearsals in Los Angeles in advance of the planned July 13 kickoff of the AEG-promoted This Is It 50-show run at the O2 Arena in London, Phillips said Jackson gave him a big hug and whispered, "Now I know I can do this." He also denied reports that Jackson was too frail to perform, hinting that AEG may soon release some footage from rehearsals that will refute those notions.
A lawyer representing Murray said the doctor found the singer unconscious but with a weak pulse, and spent more than 25 minutes trying to revive Jackson, but did not call 911 for 30 minutes because there was not a landline in Jackson's room and the doctor did not know the address of the rented Los Angeles mansion Jackson was staying in.
Transcripts of the 911 calls have led some to question whether Murray could have done a better job administering CPR to Jackson. The caller in the tapes is heard saying that Murray was performing the life-saving technique on a bed, not on a hard surface such as a floor, which the dispatcher suggested and which medical professionals recommend. A lawyer for Murray has explained that Jackson was lying on a very firm bed and that the doctor braced the singer's back with his hand while administering chest compressions with his other hand. Murray's car was towed from the mansion as evidence on the day of Jackson's death by police, but officials have said that the doctor is not a suspect in the case.
For complete coverage of the life, career and passing of the legendary entertainer, visit "Michael Jackson Remembered."
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