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How Did Michael Jackson Die?

Michel Jackson was one of the most famous musicians and singers in history. His impact on music and Pop was immense. He wasn’t given the title of “King of Pop” for nothing. However, despite his fame and legions of loyal fans, his personal life ran anything but smoothly.

From an early age, he had a lot to contend with. So, when I consider the question, “How did Michael Jackson die?” I am more than aware of how his early life and fame played a significant part in his untimely death. To get a better idea of what went wrong, and why he left us so early, let’s start at the very beginning.

How Did Michael Jackson Die?

Michael Jackson’s Early Life

It is fair to say that Michael Jackson had anything but a normal life or childhood. Furthermore, it is also fair to say that he had pretty much no childhood at all. That is because from almost the moment he was born in 1958, he was being groomed for stardom.

So, why was that?

Because his father had him singing and dancing from just about the time he could walk and talk. By the time he was only six years old, he was already singing and performing with his brothers in the Jackson 5. Additionally, it would only be a matter of a few years until he was the focal point of the band. 

Michael Jackson’s early life and childhood were work and entertainment. A wholly unhealthy way to bring up a child. And, possibly one reason he was so obsessed with children in his adult life. At least, that is the explanation that many of his fans would like to believe.

The truth is, we will never know…

For most people, their early life was going to school and getting into scrapes with friends. But, for Michael Jackson’s early years, childhood consisted of honing his craft as a singer, dancer, performer, and songwriter. 

There are too many songs to name here. But, possibly one of his greatest achievements with the Jackson 5 was their first #1 in 1969 with “I Want You Back.” Ten years later, he was still making music with his family. Now as The Jacksons, having dropped the ‘5’ in 1975. One of the final songs he wrote and sang with The Jacksons was their 1979 hit song, “Shake Your Body.”

That was the point that marked the end of his childhood. Not that he ever had one. But, more specifically, it marked the end of the influence of his controlling father. He entered adulthood and was finally free to forge a solo career and some kind of life for himself.

Career Success

Michael Jackson’s solo success as an artist is nothing less than remarkable. Straight out of the block, he released the album Off the Wall in 1979. The album sold over 20 million copies and included Michael Jackson’s debut #1 hit, “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough.” That was followed by another #1 hit with the single “Rock with You.” It was an incredible start to his career.

But, what happened next, no one could have anticipated…

In 1982, Michael Jackson released his second studio album, Thriller. And he promptly made his way into the history books. The album went crazy. It ended up selling 70 million copies, which, by a long margin, made it the bestselling album of all time

Three monster hits from the album included “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” and, of course, “Thriller.” They were all released in 1983. And, like the album, they all went multiple platinum in most of the main markets.

Michael Jackson was now the undisputed King of Pop. He was on top of the world and on his way to selling 400 million albums and becoming the second most successful solo artist of all time. Only Elvis would deny him that ultimate prize. So, what could go wrong?

Mental and Physical Decline

It is hard to pinpoint an exact time when things started to go wrong. But, if pushed, I would say that it was somewhere between the release of Thriller in 1982 and Bad in 1987. Frankly, by then, I would say the signs were that he was truly losing the plot.

So, what was going on?

Michael Jackson started to exhibit increasingly strange behavior. In isolation, some of the things he did might seem odd. But, when lumped together, something was clearly not right.

For example, MJ had a pet monkey and was obsessed with children. In addition, he chose to have surrogate children and arranged for sole custody. Yet, most of the parenting was carried out by his mother and cousin. The use of heavy-duty painkillers and anti-anxiety medication. Plus, of course, his obvious body dysmorphia. He obsessively went under the knife in the pursuit of physical perfection.

Michael was slowly losing a grip on reality. And sadly, there was no one strong enough to tell him “no” and help him set realistic boundaries. The consequence was a man/child who appeared to have no idea of the harm and consequences of what he was doing to himself.

Paying The Price

Paying The Price

In 2011, Michael Jackson was in increasingly poor condition. He was heavily reliant on medication, and he was rapidly going downhill as a result. Jackson was taking painkillers for Lupus. And, apparently, also for a scalp condition. That was due to burns he suffered while making a Pepsi commercial more than 15 years previously. 

Additionally, he also reported that he had some back problems. Plus, he had insomnia and was taking some heavy-duty sleeping medication. Including midazolam and lorazepam. This was bad enough. But, as it transpired, he was also being given propofol to help him sleep.

Administering propofol to help someone sleep is madness…

And, it is nothing short of criminal. This is a drug given to people intravenously when undergoing surgery. In no way is it indicated for insomnia. It is ridiculous that he was ever given this option.

The reason he asked for it was that he had been given it during his many surgeries, and it would always make him sleep. Of course! Someone needed to tell him “no,” and he needed to listen. But, of course, they didn’t, and he probably wouldn’t have listened anyway. Ultimately, it was propofol and criminal negligence, that was to be his undoing.

Michael Jackson’s Death

On the night Michael Jackson died, following a rehearsal, he seemed perfectly fine. He even had the energy to talk with some of his adoring fans outside of his house. However, later in the evening, he rang Dr. Murray and complained of insomnia and apparently requested propofol to help him sleep. The idiot doctor complied and unwittingly signed his death warrant.

Throughout the night, the doctor continued to administer intravenous drugs. Which, when combined with painkillers and oral sedatives, caused a fatal cardiac arrest. On June 25th, 2009, despite attempts to revive him, Michael Jackson, at just 50 years of age, was dead.

So, how did Michael Jackson die?

We can blame it on the cocktail of drugs he was taking and on medical negligence. I will come to that shortly. But that is far from the full story. What killed Michael Jackson was a combination of events that went right back to his childhood. Or, rather, lack of it.

His odd upbringing, lack of proper parental supervision outside of performing, and having to live his life permanently in the spotlight of his fans and media are also a big part of the story. Additionally, Michael was surrounded by “yes” men and women. 

This also distorted his decision-making abilities and sense of reality…

However, the biggest factor in the death of Michael Jackson centers around the doctors who were responsible for treating him over the years. 

Almost without exception, they should hang their collective heads in shame for the appalling care, advice, and treatment that they recklessly dished out over the years. The fact that only Dr. Murray was held accountable for his actions in no way admonishes the horrifically poor standards of many of the medical professionals who treated Michael Jackson over his lifetime. 

The Aftermath

Following the autopsy and a thorough investigation, criminal proceedings were brought against Dr. Murray for manslaughter. He was given just four years in prison, which I think is lenient in the extreme. Incidentally, he only ever served two, as he was released early for good behavior. 

His medical license was and still is suspended. How he ever became qualified as a trained cardiologist is, frankly, a mystery. This is even more of a puzzle since it was later revealed in the trial that he failed to properly administer CPR. And he also failed to call for an ambulance for almost an hour. A disgrace of a man and a doctor.

The Funeral 

The Funeral 

Michael Jackson was buried on September 3rd, 2009, at Los Angeles Forest Lawn Memorial Park. To give it the name of a funeral, though, is somewhat misleading. In reality, it was more of a circus.

Even in death, Michael Jackson could get no peace. His burial was turned into a shameful public event rather than a private matter for his friends and family. The “event” was streamed live to over 2.5 billion people. This made it one of the most-watched live broadcasts in television history.

That was bad enough… 

But, it was further turned into a spectacle by raffling 17,500 tickets for the funeral to over a million applicants. I am honestly lost for words at how sick this was.

At the funeral, his only daughter, Paris Jackson, commented that she hoped everyone would finally leave him alone. I hope that they will, and I hope he is finally resting in peace.

Curious About The Deaths Of Other Famous Musicians?

Well, have a look at our thoughts on How Did Kurt Cobain DieHow Did Aaliyah DieHow Did Prince DieHow Did Avicii DieHow Did Taylor Hawkins Die, and How Did Bob Marley Die for more information about celebrity deaths.

How Did Michael Jackson Die? – Final Thoughts

There is no doubt that Michael Jackson will be remembered for a long time to come, and for good reason. However, as well as remembering him for the music, I hope that we can all learn from his life and the missteps that lead to his unfortunate and premature death.

By better understanding Michael Jackson’s death, there is a chance that we can prevent future tragedies of this kind from ever happening again. However, given the nature of the music industry and Los Angeles, that might be a forlorn hope.

Until next time, enjoy the music.

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