New York: A trove of emails recently obtained detail concerns over Michael Jackson’s health by those around him in the days and weeks before his death.
Five days before the ‘King of Pop’ breathed his last in a darkened bedroom, the director of his ill-fated ‘This Is It’ comeback tour was sounding the alarm even louder than previously revealed.
Kenny Ortega sent a panicked email in the predawn hours of June 20, 2009, telling promoter Randy Phillips that the singer appeared too “weak and fatigued” to rehearse the previous night, “trembling, rambling and obsessing”.
Ortega even recommended Jackson a psychological exam.
When the head of AEG Live didn’t immediately address his fears, Ortega fired off another email 11 hours later.
“I honestly felt if I had encouraged or allowed him on stage last night he could have hurt himself,” the New York Daily news quoted Ortega as writing to Phillips in the confidential 1:20 p.m. missive.
Phillips responded within the hour, shooting down Ortega’s concerns with even more force than formerly exposed.
“It is critical that neither you, me, or anyone around this show become amateur psychiatrists or physicians,” he wrote.
Phillips added that he was in touch with Jackson’s personal doctor, Conrad Murray, and had gained “immense respect” for the cardiologist, who later got jailed for involuntary manslaughter.
“(Murray) said that Michael is not only physically equipped to perform (but) that discouraging him to (perform) will hasten his decline instead of stopping it,” Phillips wrote.
“You cannot imagine the harm and ramifications of stopping the show now.
“It would far outweigh ‘calling this game in the 7th inning.’ I am not just talking about AEG’s interests here, but the myriad of stuff and lawsuits swirling around MJ that I crisis manage every day and also his well-being,” he wrote.
He signed off as randy.
“Please stay steady. Enough alarms have sounded. It is time to put out the fire, not burn the building down,” Phillips wrote.
Jackson appeared to improve significantly at follow-up rehearsals but died that Thursday after Murray provided a lethal dose of the surgery-strength aesthetic propofol to help him sleep.
The emails are expected to play a central role in two lawsuits set for trial next year.