June 25, 2009, marks the blackest day in the history of pop music industry – on this very day, ‘The Peter Pan of Pop’ or more famously ‘The King of Pop’, Michael Jackson left us all for his final journey. Probably, the brightest star ever produced by the Pop world, Jackson, who saw fame, adulation, controversy and misery, paid the price of being a celebrity as controversies trailed him even after his death.
With his untimely demise, Michael left an undying, sweet legacy that will keep inspiring generations to come. A prodigiously talented musician and performer, Jackson belted unforgettable chart-topping hits which such as ‘Remember the Time’, ‘You are Not Alone’, ‘Black or White’, ‘Billie Jean’, ‘Dangerous’, ‘Smooth Criminal’, ‘Thriller’, ‘Bad’, ‘Beat It’, ‘Give Into Me’, ‘Heal the World’, ‘We Are the World’, ‘They Don’t Really Care About Us’ to name a few.
Michael Jackson, who all this while was preparing for his Second Coming with his comeback tour called ‘This is it’ (50 sold out London concerts), would have hardly ever imagined that his last effort to revive his debt ridden career would cost him his life. Those close to him said MJ was taking on too much for a never seen before show that would be historic in scale.
He did create history just a few days later, by becoming a part of it.
The world literally came to a standstill the day Jackson died of a cardiac arrest. On June 25, 2009, Google’s news section was choked with millions of ‘Michael Jackson’ searches, Twitter crashed when Jackson tweets reached a whopping 5,000 tweet per minute and Wikimedia Foundation got millions of visitors on its Michael Jackson page. Servers broke down, AOL Instant messenger crashed, fans gathered worldwide and held candle light vigils, news channels were flooded with the news of Jackson’s sudden demise, even as radios played homage to the departed soul; ‘The King of Pop’ was gone, and too soon for his millions of fans.
The news of Michael Jackson’s death was as shocking as that of Elvis Presley, John Kennedy and Princess Diana as the whole world stopped and mourned the death of a brilliant consummate artist.
Jackson was found unconscious in his bed at a rented mansion in Los Angeles where his general physician Conrad Murray made vain attempts to revive the legendry singer. The paramedics at Los Angeles Fire Department received a 911 call by Murray at 12:22 pm and arrived three minutes later at the Michael Jackson’s location. Not responding to CPR, Jackson quietly passed away on his way to the Ronald Regan ULCA Medical Center, but was officially declared dead at 2:26 pm.
The news of Michael Jackson’s death spread like wildfire. As investigations started, police impounded Conrad Murray’s car. Jackson, who was already marred by controversies of child-molestation and poor health, fired public imagination with his untimely death. Even though the Jackson camp denied any severe health complications, all hell broke loose when the toxicology reports suggested that he was being administered a cocktail of painkillers.
The Los Angeles County Coroner declared MJ’s death a case of homicide and held Conrad Murray responsible for drug overdose.
On June 26, 2009, a three-hour autopsy was performed on Jackson. However, Jackson’s family pressed for a second autopsy, even as the first autopsy reported the presence of drugs, which included propofol, anxiolytic lorazepam, midazolam, lidocaine, diazepam and ephedrine.
Meanwhile, talking about Jackson’s history of drug abuse, Jackson’s former attorney confirmed to a news channel – “Michael Jackson had prescription drugs at his disposal.”
Even his close friend and spiritual guru Deepak Chopra said that the singer once asked for drugs when the latter stayed at his house. Chopra lambasted Jackson’s aides and medicos for his untimely death as he thundered, “Totally enabled by these Hollywood Mafia drug-dealer doctors who have made medical licenses and should be brought to justice…Instead of managing his stress, they would give him drugs.” It was clear that Jackson was heavily dependent on tranquillizers and pain killers – Demerol.
On February 8, 2010, Conrad Murray was charged with involuntary manslaughter by Los Angeles prosecutors. Though, Murray was released on a bail of USD 75,000, he repeatedly pleaded not guilty to the charges, even as the Jackson family said they felt Murray should be severely held guilty.
Jackson’s demise was unbelievable for his fans as many reported seeing him at various places around the world, holidaying and having fun! Theories such as - the death was staged so that he could escape his death as well as the big comeback - did the rounds.
Jackson was finally buried on September 3, 2009. The burial ceremony was attended by the Jacksons and many noted artists and musicians. Even as family members of Jackson wanted him to be buried at the Neverland ranch, permission for the same was denied and he was finally buried at the Forest Lawn Cemetery of Glendale. His mortal remains were laid to rest at the Holly Terrace section of Great Mausoleum.
The cost of Jackson’s funeral was one million dollars and the service was beamed live across the world.
The guardianship of Jackson’s three children (Michael Joseph Jackson Jr, Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson and Prince Michael Jackson II) was transferred to his mother, Katherine Jackson or else Diana Ross in case Katherine is unable to do so, whereas Jackson’s will intentionally left out his former wife Debbie Rowe, with the control of his estate going to his mother.
While one hopes that Jackson now rests in peace, charges such as he was gay etc were hurled even after his death, which were vehemently denied by his family.
But surely, he is loved more than ever before, considering that after his death, Jackson’s estate has generated wealth for USD 783 million, including CD sales and earnings from the documentary ‘This is it’.
Only if he was alive to see it all…