Michael Jackson dead at 50

Pop star Michael Jackson was pronounced dead Thursday after paramedics found him in a coma at his Bel-Air mansion, city and law enforcement sources told The Times.

Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Steve Ruda told The Times that paramedics responded to a 911 call from the home. When they arrived, Jackson was not breathing. The paramedics performed CPR and took him to UCLA Medical Center, Ruda said.

Hundreds of reporters gathered at the hospital awaiting word on his condition. The sources, who spoke on the condition that they not be named, said family members rushed to Jackson’s bedside, where he was in a deep coma.

Michael Jackson performs during his '30th Anniversary Celebration: The Solo Years' concert at New York's Madison Square Garden in 2001.

Michael Jackson performs during his '30th Anniversary Celebration: The Solo Years' concert at New York's Madison Square Garden in 2001.

The circumstances of Jackson’s death remain unclear. Law enforcement sources said that Los Angeles Police Department robbery-homicide detectives have opened an investigation into the death, though they stressed there was no evidence of criminal wrongdoing. The detectives plan to interview relatives, friends and Jackson’s doctors to try to figure out what happened. The L.A. County coroner’s office will determine a cause of death.

LAPD Lt. Gregg Strenk told reporters outside the mansion that police Chief William J. Bratton assigned detectives to the case because of Jackson’s high profile. “Don’t read anything into it,” he said.

Strenk said paramedics got to the house in the 100 block of Carolwood Drive off Sunset Boulevard about 1 p.m., and the singer was pronounced dead at 2:30 p.m.

A Los Angeles Fire Department source told The Times that Jackson was in full cardiac arrest when rescue units arrived on scene. A doctor was in the house performing CPR on him, said the source, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Jermaine Jackson told reporters at the hospital that medical personnel made a heroic effort to revive his brother.

“His personal physician, who was with him (at the house) at the time, attempted to resuscitate my brother, as did paramedics,” he said. “A team of highly skilled doctors, including emergency physicians and cardiologists, attempted to resuscitate him for a period of more than one hour, but were unsuccessful.”

The news comes as Jackson, 50, was attempting a comeback after years of tabloid headlines, most notably about his trial and acquittal on child molestation charges.

In May, The Times reported that Jackson was living in a Bel-Air mansion and rehearsing for a series of 50 sold-out shows in London’s O2 Arena. Jackson had won the backing of two billionaires to get the so-called King of Pop back on stage.

The concerts were scheduled to kick off July 13.

Johnny Caswell, a principal at Centerstaging, the Burbank soundstage where Jackson rehearsed for his London concerts, watched many of the run-throughs and said he was “absolutely shocked” by the performer’s death.

Jackson, he said, was “very frail” but approached the rehearsals with boundless energy.

“He was working hard. Putting four days a week in here. Six hours a day. Working hard. Dancing,” Caswell said. “We’re in shock over here.”

The performer moved from the Burbank facility to the Forum in Inglewood earlier this month, Caswell said.

Rand Phillips, chief executive of promoter AEG Live, said in an interview last month that a medical screening of Jackson uncovered “no issues whatsoever.”

Screeners “declared him healthy,” Phillips said. “His cholesterol level is better than mine.”

But a physical may not have revealed a looming heart attack, said Dr. John Harold, a Cedars-Sinai Medical Center cardiologist.

“This is the type of patient who could have a stress test the day before and it could be completely normal, and the next day could have a plaque rupture and a fatal heart attack,” said Harold, who did not treat Jackson.

His backers envisioned the London shows as an audition for a career rebirth that could ultimately encompass a three-year world tour, a new album, movies, a Graceland-like museum, musical revues in Las Vegas and Macau, and even a Thriller casino.

Such a rebound could wipe out Jackson’s massive debt, estimated at $400 million.

source: www.dailymail.com

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