Michael Jackson’s last hours were spent in extreme distress in which he begged for his father as he lapsed into a drug-fueled emotional breakdown, according to a graphic new account by his biographer.
The tormented superstar was ‘high as a kite’ on powerful painkillers, reading the Bible, writing dark, nightmarish poetry and hysterically accusing the money men who managed his career of ‘betraying’ him with their plans for a gruelling, 50-date London tour.
Author Ian Halperin, who accurately predicted Jackson’s death eight months ago and whose book on the troubled star, Unmasked: The Final Years Of Michael Jackson, is high in the bestseller charts, has now reinterviewed a number of aides, family friends and investigators.
And last night he revealed that Jackson spent the 12 hours before he died in an increasingly paranoid and agitated state.
Shortly after midnight on the day of his death, June 25, Jackson finally snapped. Demanding that the tour be called off, he asked an aide to call his father, shouting that Joe Jackson was the only person he still trusted.
When Jackson was informed that he could not be reached, he ordered his £100,000-a-month personal physician, Dr Conrad Murray, to ‘put him out’ with an intravenous drip that included an anaesthetic normally used in hospital operating theatres.
‘Michael was cracking up. He had been injecting himself for over 12 hours, he said for excruciating pain,’ Halperin reveals in an exclusive interview from New York, where he is making a documentary about the singer’s tragic death.
“He begged to see his father but they lied to him. They told him they couldn’t get hold of him. If Joe Jackson had been allowed to see him that night, I believe Michael would still be alive.”
The singer, a chronic insomniac, got up at noon on June 24. ‘He had been up until at least 4am, he was so wound up,’ Halperin says. ‘Usually he would lunch at 1pm but that day he barely ate a crumb,’ says the author. ‘He was complaining that his throat and lungs hurt. He also had wrenched his back during rehearsals for the London tour.’
At 12.30pm, the writer says, he began to inject himself with Demerol and lidocaine, as well as a psychiatric drug. At 2.40pm, he emerged from his bedroom, still clad in his pyjamas. ‘He was a bit high,’ says Halperin, ‘but he struck up a conversation in the living room with an aide. He reminisced about his childhood.’ The singer then retreated and got dressed. Three phone calls came into the mansion between 1pm and 4pm. Jackson refused to take them.
‘Three days earlier, he had said he had “made a deal with the devil”,’ Halperin says. “I assume he was referring to the concert promoters.”
He was scheduled to rehearse two dance numbers that afternoon with his youngest son, Blanket, seven, who was to appear with him at the O2 series. ‘Michael cancelled the rehearsal,’ says Halperin. ‘He couldn’t keep in sync because of the drugs and the pain.’
At about 4.30pm, the door to Michael’s suite was shut. No one could tell Halperin with certainty how the star occupied himself in the next six ‘missing hours’, but a toxicology report indicates he continued to ingest drugs.
At about 10.40pm, his staff heard music coming from the room. When the door swung open again, about two hours later, Halperin says, he seemed morose and consumed with fear and anger. The star had changed back into pyjamas and a shabby pair of brown slippers.
Aides told Halperin they saw him sitting on his bed. ‘He’d been listening to classics for a couple of hours,’ the author says. ‘Then he suddenly switched to the Gipsy Kings, which was odd. They weren’t Michael’s thing. His mood was extremely chaotic.”
At 1.20am, he received a phone call. ‘It was from one of his advisers,’ Halperin says. ‘He got in a shouting match about finances. That was when Michael said he was calling off the tour. He said some of his advisers didn’t care about his welfare. There were undesirables around him who he feared would hurt him physically and financially. He might have gone along if it had been five shows, he said, but he couldn’t do 50.’
Halperin adds: ‘Michael was visibly upset. I’ve been told he was crying. He demanded an aide call his father. He said his father was the only person who could “clean up the mess”. The aide told him there was no answer and promised to call him the next day.’
Halperin claims that for weeks, whenever Joe Jackson drove to his son’s mansion, he was blocked by security guards. ‘These people were scared that if Joe got wind of the shape Michael was in, he would cancel all 50 shows,’ Halperin says. ‘Joe always told his children, “You either perform at your maximum capacity or you don’t perform.’’’
In the early hours of the morning of his death, Jackson began to scribble poems. ‘He was as high as a kite. What he wrote was dark, sort of frightening,’ says Halperin. ‘The poems were found, hanging in his room on strings. He was over the edge.’
For the next 40 minutes, he sat on his bed, crying and reading the Bible. At 1.51am, he ordered an aide to fetch Dr Murray. He had hired the Trinidadian-born cardiologist, who was burdened with debt, to help him deal with the stress of the London tour after four other physicians turned down the job. ‘Michael was overheard telling Murray he was ready to go to sleep, ’ says Halperin.
At 1.57am, Michael was seen going into the doctor’s room, says Halperin, who claims Murray ‘routinely’ would give him a sleeping potion that included the anaesthetic Propofol, also known as Diprivan.
‘The Diprivan wouldn’t be administered in Michael’s room but in the doctor’s room which was kept under lock and key,’ says Halperin.
The star muttered his last known words to an aide at about 2am: ‘Michael told him, “Don’t worry about me. I am going to sleep.” Twenty five minutes later, Dr Murray was spotted leaving his room. Michael was in a deep sleep. He never woke up.’
Authorities are investigating Dr Murray for suspected manslaughter. The physician has strongly maintained his innocence.