An autopsy is underway right now for Michael Jackson, the King of Pop. Chief Los Angeles County coroner, Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran, is performing the autopsy and was a star witness in the O.J. Simpson murder trial. “Family will not be there,” his spokesman, Lt. Brian Elias, said. “It’s not known if any representatives for LAPD will be there.” While Jackson family insiders suggested prescription drug abuse, specifically Demerol, might have caused the 50-year-old superstar’s heart to stop, Elias said it will be several weeks before toxicology results are ready. Pressed on early reports that Jackson died of cardiac arrest, Elias said, “Everybody’s heart stops, it’s very non-specific.”
Meanwhile, Michael Jackson’s personal physician, Dr. Tohme Tohme, who was trying to revive the pop legend when EMTs arrived at his LA-area house yesterday, has gone missing. Detectives are hunting for Tohme, who was summoned to his rented house on Sunset Blvd. on Wednesday night when he first fell ill. It is believed the missing doctor gave the star a dose of Demerol, a painkiller similar to morphine, before he suffered a cardiac arrest. “Michael Jackson’s personal physician’s car was impounded,” said Officer Richard French, an LAPD spokesman. “The car might contain medication or other evidence that could assist the coroner in determining the cause of Michael Jackson’s death.” French did not identify the doctor, who was with Jackson on Thursday when he stopped breathing and tried to resuscitate him. Paramedics were called to Jackson’s home at 12:26 p.m. and they worked on him for 45 minutes before rushing him to UCLA Medical Center. There, doctors took over and tried to revive Jackson for nearly an hour before pronouncing him dead at 2:26 pm PST. While Jackson suffered from a host of health problems, his reported addiction to prescription drugs fueled speculation he overdosed.
London’s Sun reported that Jackson had trouble breathing after his morning shot of Demerol on Thursday, which was administered by his personal physician. “He started to experience slow, shallow breathing,” a source told the paper. “His breathing gradually got slower and slower until it stopped. His staff started mouth-to-mouth and an ambulance was called which got there in eight minutes.” Brian Oxman, a former attorney of Jackson’s and a family friend, said he was concerned about Jackson’s use of painkillers and he warned the singer’s family about possible abuse. “This (Jackson) family has been trying for months and months and months to take care of Michael Jackson. The people who have surrounded him have been enabling him. If you think the case of Anna Nicole Smith was an abuse that is nothing compared to what has taken place in the life of Michael Jackson. I do not know what medications he was taking, but the reports that we have received within the family are that they were extensive.”
He later added: “I did warn him about the drugs, but I am sorry I didn’t warn him enough. I am going to wait until I get the toxicology report, and if his death has something to do with drugs, I am prepared to name names of doctors who prescribed them.”
Oxman claims Jackson had prescription drugs at his disposal to help with pain suffered when he broke his leg after he fell off a stage and for broken vertebrae in his back. “When the autopsy comes, all hell’s going to break loose, so thank God we’re celebrating him now,” Liza Minnelli told CBS’ “The Early Show” by telephone.