The AP is reporting that Michael Jackson’s personal doctor administered a powerful anesthetic to help him sleep, and authorities believe the drug is what killed the pop singer, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Monday.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, said Jackson regularly received Propofol to sleep, a practice outside the drug’s intended purpose. On June 25, the day Jackson died, Dr. Conrad Murray gave him the drug sometime after midnight, the official said. Though toxicology reports are pending, investigators are working under the theory that Propofol caused Jackson’s heart to stop.
Murray, 51, has been identified in court papers as the subject of a manslaughter investigation and authorities last week raided his office and a storage unit in Houston. Murray’s lawyer, Edward Chernoff, has said the doctor “didn’t prescribe or administer anything that should have killed Michael Jackson.” When asked Monday about the law enforcement official’s statements he said: “We will not be commenting on rumors, innuendo or unnamed sources.”
Murray became Jackson’s personal physician in May and was to accompany him to London for a series of concerts starting in July. He was staying with Jackson in a rented Los Angeles mansion and, according to Chernoff, found an unconscious Jackson in the pop star’s bedroom the morning of June 25. Murray attempted to revive him but could not. Police searching Jackson’s home after his death found propofol and other drugs, an IV line and three tanks of oxygen in Jackson’s bedroom, and 15 more oxygen tanks in a security guard’s shack.
Propofol can depress breathing and lower heart rates and blood pressure. Because of the risks, propofol is only supposed to be administered in hospitals. Instructions on the drug’s package warn that patients must be continuously monitored, and that equipment to maintain breathing, to provide artificial ventilation, and to administer oxygen if needed “must be immediately available.”
Jackson had trouble sleeping and the official said he enlisted various doctors to administer propofol, relying on the drug like an alarm clock. He would decide what time he wanted to awaken and at the appointed hour a doctor would stop the intravenous drip that delivered the drug, the official said.
The official also provided a glimpse into how the pop star was living in the weeks before he died, describing the room in which Jackson slept in his rented Beverly Hills mansion as outfitted with oxygen tanks and an IV drip. Another of Jackson’s bedrooms was a shambles, with clothes and other items strewn about and handwritten notes stuck on the walls. One read: ‘Children are sweet and innocent.’ Police found propofol and other drugs in the home. An IV line and three tanks of oxygen were in the room where Jackson slept, and 15 more oxygen tanks were in a security guard’s shack, the official said.
Elsewhere, Michael Jackson’s children could miss out on a $20 million life insurance payout because an aide to the King of Pop allowed the policy to lapse. The singer’s family are planning legal action against the assistant who they reportedly believe kept the cash that had been put aside for insurance. Dr. Steven Hoefflin, the plastic surgeon who became one of Jackson’s closest friends, said that the affair highlighted the ‘deception and incompetence’ of the hangers-on who surrounded the singer in his final days.
‘The family have told me that, utterly unbelievably and horrifyingly, one of his aides did not keep up with payments in the last months of his life. They believe he was pocketing the money,’ he told The Sun. Because the final payments were missed it is understood that Jackson’s children will now receive around $2.5 million rather than the $22.5 million to which they would have been entitled. His children Prince Michael, 12, Paris, 11, and Prince Michael II, 7, commonly known as Blanket, will inherit his $300 million share in The Beatles back catalogue but the rights are mortgaged up to the hilt and the singer is facing a range of legal claims on his estate.