LOS ANGELES – Michael Jackson’s dermatologist said he had sedated the pop star in the past for painful medical procedures but had never given him dangerous sedatives like Propofol to use.
“I was not one of the doctors who participated in giving him overdoses of drugs or too much of anything,” Dr. Arnold Klein said in an interview that aired Wednesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” In fact, I was the one who limited everything, who stopped everything.””
Investigators looking into the cause of Jackson’s death have honed in on drugs that were administered to the insomniac musician. The powerful sedative Diprivan, also known as Propofol and usually administered by anesthesiologists in hospitals, was found in Jackson’s home, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person wasn’t authorized to comment about the matter.
Any drugs he used with Jackson were on very mild levels, Klein said. “How am I going to prescribe Diprivan when I don’t know how to use it?” he said.
Klein said he saw Jackson three days before he died on June 25. In response to rumours that the musician was dangerously thin at the time of his death, Klein said he saw nothing to make him worry.
“He danced in my office,” he said. “He danced for my patients.”
Klein also said that Jackson was “at the hands of plastic surgeons who didn’t know when to stop” and that he viewed his face as a piece of art.
Still, Klein said he was always concerned about Jackson because he knew that whatever he wanted, he could always find someone to give it to him.
The saga surrounding Jackson’s death will continue past Tuesday’s memorial service in Los Angeles, watched by millions around the world.
Despite the presence of stars like Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey and Kobe Bryant, the emotional speech by Jackson’s 11-year-old daughter, Paris-Michael, was the memorial’s most heart-tugging moment. NBC’s “Today” show replayed portions of it three times in its first eight minutes Wednesday.
“Ever since I was born, Daddy has been the best father I could imagine,” Paris-Michael said, dissolving into tears and turning into the arms of her aunt Janet Jackson. “I just want to say I love him so much.”
Custody of Jackson’s three children is one of the biggest legal issues still unresolved. In his 2002 will, Jackson made his wishes clear – his three children should remain under the care of his mother, Katherine.
Debbie Rowe, the biological mother of Paris-Michael and her 12-year-old brother, Prince Michael, has indicated she may seek custody. The surrogate mother of Jackson’s youngest child, seven-year-old Prince Michael II, is unknown. A custody hearing was scheduled for Monday.
As the world paused to remember Jackson, authorities released his death certificate, which did not list a cause of death. The official determination will likely wait until toxicology results are completed, which could be weeks away.
Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said Jackson’s brain, or at least part of it, was still being held by investigators and would be returned to the family for interment once neuropathology tests were completed.
Jackson’s final resting place was another unknown. Permission is needed to bury him at his former home, Neverland Ranch. A private memorial was held at a cemetery in the Hollywood Hills that is the resting place of many stars, but it does not appear Jackson will be buried among them.
Then there’s Jackson’s money. He died deeply in debt, but left an estate potentially worth US$500 million and his enduring star power with its tremendous earning potential.
Jackson’s financial adviser, Tohme Tohme, said on “Today” that he had fired Jackson staff members in an effort to get the star’s finances untangled.
“I saw that there was a lot of money being wasted and a lot of people taking advantage of the situation,” Tohme said.
He said Jackson didn’t appear to care about money. “He said, ‘It’s your department, not mine.”‘
Former Sony Music chairman and CEO Tommy Mottola has said Jackson left dozens of songs that included newer material and leftover works from some of his biggest albums. Mottola predicted the potential playlist was bigger than the one left behind by Elvis Presley.
The singer also left behind an elaborate production dubbed “The Dome Project,” which could be Jackson’s last complete video piece. Little is publicly known about the production, but its existence has been confirmed by two knowledgeable sources who spoke to The Associated Press on condition they not be identified because they signed confidentiality agreements.
There also is more than 100 hours of footage of preparations for his London concerts, which were cancelled because of his death. Randy Phillips, president and CEO of concert promoter AEG Live, said last week the company also has enough material for two live albums.
About 20,000 people gathered inside the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday for a sombre, spiritual ceremony, watched by millions more around the world.
Crowds gathered outside Harlem’s Apollo Theater in New York to soak it in. In Santiago, Chile, national police band played “We Are the World” during the traditional guard change at the presidential palace. About 50 fans lit candles and laid flowers in the main square in Stockholm, as “Billie Jean” and “Earth Song” poured out of a small stereo.
In London, dozens of fans stood under umbrellas in the rain as they watched the event on a big screen outside the 02 Arena, where Jackson was to have performed 50 comeback shows starting next week. Many more stayed dry at home after the BBC announced it would cancel scheduled programming and show the ceremony live.
Calculating just how many people in total watched the ceremony – around the world and across all platforms – will take several days and even then will likely be an approximation, given the huge variety of outlets.
At the ceremony, a star-studded lineup of performers closely linked to Jackson’s life and music remembered the King of Pop as an unparalleled singer, dancer and humanitarian whose music united people of all backgrounds.
Outside, more than 3,000 police officers massed downtown to keep the ticketless at bay. Helicopters followed the golden casket as it was driven over blocked-off freeways from Forest Lawn cemetery to the Staples Center. Movie theatres played the service live.
Inside, however, the atmosphere was churchlike, assisted by an enormous video image of a stained-glass window with red-gold clouds blowing past that was projected behind the stage.
The Rev. Lucious W. Smith of the Friendship Baptist Church in Pasadena gave the greeting, standing on the same stage where Jackson had been rehearsing for a comeback concert before his death at age 50.
The ceremony ended with Jackson’s family on stage, amid a choir singing “Heal the World.”
Deficit-ridden Los Angeles asked Jackson fans to help pay the bill for police and other public servants needed for the entertainer’s memorial service.
A website was posted Tuesday seeking donations to cover the costs, estimated at between $1.5 million and $4 million, according to Matt Szabo, a spokesman for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
But Jack Kyser, founding economist of the Kyser Center for Economic Research of the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation, estimates the city could rake in $4 million from the event, thanks to the throng of media and other visitors who stayed at hotels, ate at restaurants and shopped in Los Angeles.
Kyser believes the city also got a major image boost because the memorial service went off without any major problems. “This thing went off very smoothly,” Kyser said. “I think you had some good exposure for downtown and for the entire city.”
With files from AP Television Writer David Bauder.