Coroner: ‘No foul play’ in Jackson’s death

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The Los Angeles County Coroner on Friday said the autopsy has concluded on pop star Michael Jackson’s body, but that a cause of death will await additional tests that will take four to six weeks.

Chief Investigator Craig Harvey told reporters in a news conference that there was no evidence of external trauma to Jackson’s body or foul play associated with his death.

As doctors completed the autopsy speculation centred on Jackson’s use of prescription painkillers.

Celebrity website TMZ.com, citing an interview with an unidentified “close member” of the Jackson family, reported the superstar singer was injected with Demerol about half an hour before he went into cardiac arrest.

Police searched Jackson’s rented mansion in the Holmby Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles and planned to interview his personal physician, who was with the 50-year-old entertainer at the time of his death.

TMZ said, according to family members, Jackson received a daily injection of Demerol, a narcotic painkiller. The family believes his death was caused by an overdose of the drug, TMZ reported.

An unidentified man called a 911 emergency phone line from the mansion at 12.21pm local time, saying Jackson was unconscious and not breathing.

In excerpts from the call played on television, the man said the doctor was the only other person present and was performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the unconscious Jackson without results.

“He’s pumping, he’s pumping his chest but he’s not responding to anything, sir, please,” the caller said.

A senior law enforcement official told ABC News that Jackson was “heavily addicted” to the painkiller Oxycontin and was injected daily with that medication, along with Demerol.

POLICE TO INTERVIEW DOCTOR

Lawyer Brian Oxman, a Jackson family spokesman, told CBS’s The Early Show he had been concerned about the prescription drugs Jackson took due to injuries suffered while performing.

“I do not want to point fingers at anyone because I want to hear what the toxicology report says and the coroner says but the plain fact of the matter is that Michael Jackson had prescription drugs at his disposal at all times,” Oxman said.

Coroner’s officials completed an autopsy on Jackson’s body but said full results could take six to eight weeks, including toxicology tests to check whether Jackson had drugs, alcohol or prescription medications in his system.

Fans and fellow pop stars everywhere revived memories of Jackson’s musical genius, tarnished over the last decade by accusations of child molestation and eccentric behavior.

US President Barack Obama called Jackson a “spectacular performer” but also said he believed aspects of his life were “sad and tragic,” the White House said.

Jackson’s death was front-page news around the world as airwaves filled with his greatest hits from Thriller to Billie Jean and social networking sites, including Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, were bombarded with messages and tributes.

“My heart, my mind are broken,” actress Elizabeth Taylor, long a close friend of Jackson, said in a statement released Friday, after saying only that she was “too devastated” to release a statement Thursday.

“He will be in my heart forever but it’s not enough,” Taylor said. “My life feels so empty. I don’t think anyone knew how much we loved each other.”

On Hollywood Boulevard, police put up barricades to control thousands of fans who filed past Jackson’s star on the Walk of Fame to honor the child prodigy who became one of the top singers of all time with an estimated 750 million albums sold.

JACKSON FEARED HE’D “END UP” LIKE ELVIS

Michael Jackson’s former wife Lisa Marie Presley said on Friday the pop star was a tortured soul who once predicted that he would “end up” like her father, the late rock icon Elvis Presley.

Writing on her MySpace blog, Presley also ripped into reports in the media that her relationship with Jackson was contrived, saying they split because she could not save him from self-destructive behaviour.

“Our relationship was not a ‘a sham’ as is being reported in the press,” Presley, 41, wrote in the blog posting, which was verified by her spokesperson.

She called it an “unusual relationship” but added: “Nonetheless, I do believe he loved me as much as he could love anyone and I loved him very much.”

Presley, the only daughter of the original “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” and a performer in her own right, describes having a conversation with Jackson about her father’s 16 August, 1977 death. Elvis Presley died at age 42 of a heart attack after years of drug use.

“At some point he (Jackson) paused, he stared at me very intensely and he stated with an almost calm certainty: ‘I am afraid that I am going to end up like him, the way he did.'”

Presley wrote that she tried to deter Jackson from the idea, but he shook his head and nodded “as if he knew what he knew” and would not be dissuaded.

“As I sit here overwhelmed with sadness, reflection and confusion at what was my biggest failure to date, watching on the news almost play by play the exact scenario I saw happen on August 16, 1977 happening again right now with Michael (a sight I never wanted to see again), just as he predicted, I am truly, truly gutted,” she said.

Presley wrote that she and Jackson’s family tried to save him from “the inevitable, which is what just happened” but she became overwhelmed and had to end their relationship.

“I became very ill and emotionally/ spiritually exhausted in my quest to save him from certain self-destructive behavior and from the awful vampires and leeches he would always manage to magnetize around him,” she wrote.

JACKSON DEEP IN DEBT

Jackson’s family has yet to announce details of a funeral and is waiting for the body to be released by the coroner.

Facing a battered reputation and a mountain of debt which The Wall Street Journal reported ran to $500 million, Jackson spent the last two months rehearsing for a series of London concerts, including Wednesday in Los Angeles.

Despite reports of Jackson’s ill health, the promoters of the London shows, AEG Live, said in March that Jackson passed a four-and-a-half hour physical examination with independent doctors.

In death, Jackson’s music enjoyed an immediate rebound that eluded him for years. His songs surged to the top 15 on online retailer Amazon.com’s best-selling albums within hours.

He dominated the charts in the 1980s and was one of the most successful entertainers, with 13 Grammy Awards and several seminal music videos. His 1982 album Thriller yielded seven top-10 singles.

But in his latter years, Jackson’s eccentric personal life and claims of sexual abuse overshadowed his stardom.

He was twice accused of molesting young boys and was charged in 2003 with child sexual abuse. He was acquitted of all charges in a four-month trial in 2005.

In 1994, Jackson married Elvis Presley’s only child, Lisa Marie, which ended in divorce in 1996. He remarried and had two children, later split with his second wife, and had a third child with an unnamed surrogate mother.

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