• Saturday, July 20, 2024
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Michael Jackson: Iconic life, mysterious death

Micheal Jackson -compressed

FUNKE ADETUTU and ALEX CHIEJINA   

FUNKE ADETUTU and ALEX CHIEJINA write that the phenomenally talented King of Pop Michael Jackson who died last Thursday just before the long-awaited comeback concert series in London was an icon who led an engaging and mysterious life

Last Thursday, the whole world was thrown into mourning when the death of world renowned pop star, Micheal Jackson was announced. Michael lived a very colourful life and during the 50 years he spent on earth, he made an indelible mark on the world’s music scene.
Jackson, who had a history of health problems, had been due to stage 50 concerts at the O2 arena in London, beginning on 13 July. Concerns were raised last month when four of Jackson’s planned comeback shows were postponed, but organisers insisted the dates had been moved due to the complexity of staging the show. Unfortunately, he never lived to see that day.
Tributes from stars and fans have been pouring in for singer Michael Jackson from different parts of the world. Odia Ofeimun, Nigerian poet and literary critic says Micheal Jackson is one of the greatest musicians of the century because he pulled all the resources of the 20th century music. Micheal did a fantastic job with this music. It’s a pity he didn’t live to do the tour billed to take place next month in the U.K. we must learn to appreciate his greatness regardless of the many controversies that surrounded his life. He was a great artist. Kenny Ogungbe, chief executive officer, Kenny’s Music describes his death as sad.
The very first tape I bought with my own money was Thriller, says Olumide Iyanda, a fan of  Micheal Jackson’s. An uncle later gave me Off the Wall LP. I never missed any since then. I can tell the story of my life with each of Michael Jackson’s album. Every song, every step and every story touched me in a special way. I am in awe of him. This guy was so great even the irreverent Miles Davis did a cover version of his human nature.
Gordon Brown, Britain’s prime minister says he is saddened by the death of the pop legend. It was very sad news for his fans. Jackson was a legendary entertainer.
Pop star Madonna says the world has lost one of its greats, whose music will live on forever. I can’t stop crying over the sad news. I have always admired Michael Jackson. The world has lost one of the greats, but his music will live on forever. My heart goes out to his three children and other members of his family.
The singer’s ex-wife Lisa Marie Presley says she was sad and confused. This is such a massive loss on so many levels, words fail me, she says.
Speaking on behalf of the Jackson family, Jermaine said doctors had tried to resuscitate the star for more than an hour without success.
Police were last weekend hunting for a doctor who allegedly injected Michael Jackson with painkiller shortly before he collapsed and died.
Daily mail reported Friday night that detectives urgently wanted to quiz the doctor over jackson’s final moments at his home in Los Angeles yesterday but he is said to have vanished.
Jackson’s family also revealed the 50-year-old had been having daily injections of Demerol, a synthetic pain-killing drug similar to morphine.
A close relative told TMZ,com, the website that first broke the news of the singer’s death, he was injected at 11.30am shortly before having a catastrophic heart attack.
Less than an hour later, at 12.21pm, a 911 call was made from the house in Beverly Hills, raising the alarm and paramedics were told he was not breathing at all.
A police source cited by TMZ alleged it was Jackson’s doctor who had injected him before he died and that he had now vanished.
According to Mail the doctor’s BMW was towed from outside the singer’s LA home last night and now he is nowhere to be found, the website said.
TMZ does not name him but he is believed to be Dr Tohme Tohme who had been at UCLA hospital with the Jackson family early today.
A spokesman for the Los Angeles Police department confirmed officers were searching for a doctor who had been at the house when the singer collapsed.
He said: We are looking for him because that is a normal part of an investigation like this. We cannot confirm the name of the doctor.
The revelation came after the Jackson’s family lawyer blamed his sudden death on his inner circle pushing him too hard in the run-up to a series of comeback gigs in Britain.
This was despite revelations in a book last December that the singer was suffering from a chronic lung condition and had just six months to live.
Brian Oxman said the Jacksons believed Michael was addicted to painkillers and prescription drugs and was concerned about the stress he was under ahead of the gruelling concerts in London.
The lawyer, who was with the family overnight, said the singer had been taking drugs for months in his battle to be fit for the string of gigs that had been due to start next month.
Jackson had been rehearsing for the concerts yesterday before going home, where he had a massive cardiac arrest and stopped breathing.
His brother Jermaine said his doctor, believed to be Tohme, had been with him but could not resuscitate him.
Paramedics rushed him to UCLA hospital where a team tried to revive him for more than an hour but he never came round.
One website quoted a hospital source as saying: Shortly after taking the Demerol, he started to experience slow, shallow breathing.
His breathing gradually got slower and slower until it stopped. His staff started mouth-to-mouth and an ambulance was called. He never regained consciousness.
There had been growing speculation the cardiac arrest had been triggered by an injection of drugs and today details of the singer’s drug dependency began to emerge.
An autopsy started in Los Angeles this afternoon to establish a cause of death. It was being conducted by Dr Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran who was a witness in the OJ Simpson case.
Those close to the star are in little doubt it was his addiction to painkillers as he prepared for the gigs in London that killed him.
Mr Oxman, who was with sister La Toya and brothers Jermaine and Randy, blamed the singer’s enablers’ for pushing him too hard ahead of the gigs which had been due to start on July 13.
This was something which I feared and something which I warned about. This is a case of abuse of medication, unless there is another cause that I don’t know about. Where there is smoke there is fire.
He told CNN: This family has been trying for months and months and months to take care of Michael Jackson. The people surrounding him have been enabling him.
If you think the case of Anna Nicole Smith was abuse then that is nothing in comparison to what we have been seeing in Michael Jackson’s life.
Michael had appeared at the rehearsals a couple of times. He was very seriously trying to be able to do these rehearsals. But his use of medications had become in the way and injuries he had sustained performing had got in the way.
He added: He had broken a vertebrae performing and he had broken his leg in a fall from the stage. I don’t know the extent of the medications he was using but the reports that we have been receiving in the family were that it was extensive.
Former Jackson 5 publicist Arthur Phoenix said the family shared his opinion but were too afraid to speak about their concerns.
The family is in mourning right now. They are devastated and very hurt. The world of entertainment has suffered a great loss, the biggest since the death of Elvis Presley, he said.
Mr Oxman revealed the Jackson family had been worried about the star being under stress. He said he had been very very critical of his use of painkillers and warned in the past that if Jackson died he would not be silent.
Michael showed his musical talent early in his life, performing in front of classmates and others during a Christmas recital at the age of five. In 1964, Michael and Marlon joined the Jackson Brothers-a band formed by brothers Jackie, Tito and Jermaine-as backup musicians playing congas and tambourine, respectively. He later began performing backup vocals and dancing at the age of eight, he and Jermaine assumed lead vocals, and the group’s name was changed to The Jackson 5. The Jackson 5 recorded several songs, including Big Boy, for the local record label Steeltown in 1967. Rolling Stone magazine described the young Michael as a prodigy with overwhelming musical gifts, noting that he quickly emerged as the main draw and lead singer after he began to dance and sing with his brothers. Though Michael sang with a child’s piping voice, he danced like a grown-up and sang with the R&B/gospel inflections of Sam Cooke, James Brown, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder.
He debuted on the professional music scene at the age of 11, as a member of The Jackson 5 in 1969. He began a solo career in 1971, while still a member of the group. In what would turn out to be the climax of Michael’s career, the album Thriller, remained in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 for 80 consecutive weeks, 37 at the peak. Seven singles from Thriller concomitantly hit the Billboard Hot 100 top 10, including Billie Jean, Beat It and Wanna be Startin Somethin. Thriller went on to sell upwards of 109 million copies, making it the best-selling album of all time. The period of Thriller was an extraordinarily lucrative one for Jackson. John Branca, his lawyer had negotiated what he boasted then as the highest royalty rate ever in the music industry, approximately $2 US dollars per album. Meanwhile, Michael raked in profits from The Making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, a documentary by Michael Jackson. He began profiting from his image.
In the early stages, his skin was a medium-brown colour for the entire duration of his youth. However, in early 1980s, his skin gradually grew paler. This change gained widespread media coverage, including rumours that Michael was bleaching his skin not sooner has the rumour of his skin colour died down, he was diagnosed with vitiligo and lupus. Both illnesses made him sensitive to sunlight. The treatment he used for his condition further lightened his skin tone. With the application of pancake makeup to cover up his blemish, he appeared increasingly pale. The structure of his face changed as well. Several surgeons speculated that Michael had undergone multiple nasal surgeries, a forehead lift, thinned lips and a cheekbone surgery. Changes to his face were due to periods of significant weight loss.
Witnesses reported that Jackson was often dizzy and speculated that he was suffering from anorexia nervosa. Periods of weight loss became a recurring problem for the singer later in life. Medical professionals have publicly stated their belief that the singer had body dimorphic disorder, a psychological condition whereby the sufferer has no concept of how they are perceived by others.
Michael Jackson success resulted in his being dubbed the King of Pop, a nickname conceived by actress and friend Elizabeth Taylor when she presented Jackson with an Artist of the Decade award in 1989. He proclaimed him the true king of pop, rock and soul. George Bush, Immediate past President of the United States of America presented the singer with The White House’s special Artist of the Decade award in recognition of Jackson’s musical influence.
Jackson crossed color lines and broke down barriers between musical genres. He followed in the footsteps of Elvis and the Beatles to create a transnational fan base that prefigured the era of globalization. He became a canny power broker who helped lead artists from stage performers into major boardroom players. Michael transcended race before Michael Jordan, before Oprah, before Tiger Woods, before Barack Obama. You can’t underestimate what his did for black artists — and artists as a whole — as a business man.
Would have been the biggest audience ever to see an artist in one city, from This Is It in 2009: would have been the highest number of people to attend a series of arena shows in London, UK if not for the cold hands of death that wreaked such a dream comeback.