Saturday, 27 June 2009

No foul play in Jackson's death: Coroner

There was no evidence of foul play in the death of pop superstar Michael Jackson, Los Angeles coroners said on Friday after conducting an autopsy. ( Watch )

Los Angeles County Coroner's spokesman Craig Harvey said a final cause of death on Jackson would be deferred until the results of toxicology tests, due to be completed in "four to six weeks," were known.

But Harvey said that examiners had found "no evidence of trauma" to Jackson's body and no indication of foul play.

Jackson's autopsy took place on Friday amid heartfelt tributes to the singer, and as speculation mounted about the cause of death for the 50-year-old who sold more than 750 million records and whose music defined the 1980s.

Jackson lawyer Brian Oxman said he and family members voiced concerns over the star's use of drugs as he prepared for a gruelling series of comeback concerts in London designed to relaunch his career.
Candles placed in front of the portrait of pop star Michael Jackson at the US embassy in Moscow

"I know Michael was rehearsing and working extremely hard to get in shape in order to perform in London," Oxman told ABC television's Good Morning America. New age guru and Jackson confidante Deepak Chopra -- a qualified cardiologist -- told CNN bluntly: "I think drugs killed him."

Jackson's former producer Tarak Ben Ammar denounced the doctors around the late pop icon as "criminals."

"It's clear that the criminals in this affair are the doctors who treated him throughout his career, who destroyed his face, who gave him medicine to ease his pain," he told France's Europe 1 radio.

Celebrity website -- which broke the news of Jackson's death -- reported on Friday that the star had been injected with the powerful painkiller Demerol about an hour before he lost consciousness.

A Los Angeles Police Department spokesman said investigators spoke with the doctor briefly on Thursday, but they wanted to speak with him again.

A tape-recording of the 911 call from Jackson's home was released on Friday in which a caller could be heard telling an operator that repeated attempts to revive Jackson had been unsuccessful.

The caller also said Jackson's personal physician had been the only witness to the singer's collapse. "(The doctor) is pumping the chest but he's not responding to anything, sir, please," the caller is heard saying.

Jackson's family, including the star's three young children, were reportedly huddled at an estate in the northern Los Angeles suburb of Encino. Meanwhile there were tributes from Jackson's close friend Elizabeth Taylor and a spokesman for US President Barack Obama.

"My heart... my mind... are broken," Taylor said in a statement. "I loved Michael with all my soul and I can't imagine life without him... I still can't believe it. I don't want to believe it. It can't be so."

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Friday the US leader regarded Jackson as an icon but thought aspects of his life were sad and tragic.

"The president... said that he had aspects of his life that were sad and tragic, his condolences went out to the Jackson family and fans that mourned his loss," Gibbs said.

Fans staged gatherings across the world. At Jackson's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, fans left flowers and lit candles.

While Jackson ruled the charts and dazzled audiences with dance moves like the "moonwalk" in the 1980s, his once-stellar career was overshadowed by his startling physical transformation and multiple allegations of child abuse.

He lived as a virtual recluse following his 2005 acquittal on charges of child molestation and plotting to kidnap his young accuser.

Despite the acquittal, the trial was a body blow from which the pop music superstar, who named his ranch after Peter Pan's "Neverland" and furnished it with Disney-inspired rides, struggled to recover.

Born on August 29, 1958, Jackson made his show business debut with four of his elder brothers in the Jackson Five pop group, and went on to lead the stage clan with a piping soprano and dazzling dance moves.

In 1979, Quincy Jones produced Jackson's first solo album for Epic Records, "Off the Wall," a huge disco-oriented success that sold 10 million copies.

They teamed up again in 1982 for "Thriller," which became the top-selling album of all time, with sales exceeding 41 million.

Source: TOI