Investigators are still trying to piece together what happened in the days and hours before [artist id="1102"]Michael Jackson[/artist] died on June 25. But someone who witnessed the King of Pop's last days said she saw the toll the intense rehearsals for the singer's planned London comeback concerts were taking on the 50-year-old and that he said they were "killing" him.
Chef Kai Chase appeared on CBS' "The Early Show" on Friday (July 31) and said that Jackson looked good and healthy in his final days, but that the grueling lead-up to the planned July 13 launch of the 50-show This Is It series at London's O2 Arena was hard on his body.
"This tour was very important for him," Chase said. "He [took] me to the side and told me, 'You know, I really need you to make sure that I'm eating organic and healthy. I know you know what you're doing, and I know you know what to do. That's why you're here. They're killing me. They're killing me. I'm working so much. I'm rehearsing a lot.'" Jackson's father, Joseph Jackson, has claimed that the promoters of the concert series, AEG Live, were working his son too hard and that Jackson was not well enough to perform the string of shows.
Chase said Jackson was very excited about the shows and despite ample evidence that the singer was allegedly taking a number of prescription pain medications as well as the powerful anesthetic Propofol, she said she'd "never seen any evidence of drug use" at the rented Holmby Hills, California mansion Jackson was living in at the time of his death.
In light of revelations this week that police are investigation the 19 different aliases Jackson allegedly used to obtain prescription medications, Chase said she was "very shocked" to learn that her name was among the pseudonyms the singer was said to have used.
"This is all news to me. It's unbelievable. It's very shocking," Chase said. She also gave one of the first glimpses at what happened on the morning Jackson died, saying the singer's personal physician, cardiologist Dr. Conrad Murray, came downstairs 90 minutes later than usual that day to fetch the juices and granola that Jackson typically had every morning.
In an earlier interview with The Associated Press, Chase said she got used to seeing Murray arrive at night and stay until after she left. When she would return the next morning, she described Murray coming down the steps carrying oxygen tanks, which officials believe might have been used in the administration of Propofol as a sleep aid for Jackson, who reportedly suffered from chronic insomnia. Murray is at the center of a manslaughter investigation and detectives are focusing on the use of the Propofol as a possible contributing factor in the singer's death.
Chase said that when she arrived for work on the morning of the 25th, she suspected Jackson was sleeping late and began preparing lunch when Murray came down the steps a little past noon and began screaming for someone to fetch Jackson's oldest son, Prince Michael.
"I walked into the hall and I saw the children there. The daughter [Paris] was crying. I saw paramedics running up the stairs," she said. Soon after, Chase, the children, their nanny and a housekeeper held hands and began to pray quietly for Jackson's safety. At 1:30, security guards told Chase and other staff members to leave the home because Jackson was being taken to the hospital.
Police served search warrants on Murray's offices and home in Las Vegas this week and carted away evidence related to what they said was the potentially illegal prescription of medications to a known "addict," seemingly referring to Jackson. Murray has not been named a suspect in the case, but police sources said earlier this week that he is the main focus of their manslaughter probe.