LOS ANGELES — The world’s attention was focused on Los Angeles 10 years ago Tuesday when Michael Jackson died at UCLA Medical Center of an overdose while preparing for a series of concerts in London.
The so-called “King of Pop,” 50, was pronounced dead at 2:26 p.m. on June 25, 2009 at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, about two hours after paramedics were called to the singer’s rented Holmby Hills estate, where he was rehearsing for a series of 50 sold-out shows in London.
Nearly three months after Jackson’s death, the coroner’s office ruled his death a homicide.
Jackson’s personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, was charged on Feb. 8, 2010, with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the pop superstar’s death from an overdose of propofol, a powerful prescription sedative that Jackson was using as a sleeping aid. He pleaded not guilty, but was ultimately convicted of involuntary manslaughter in November 2011 and sentenced to four years in prison.
No official public remembrance is planned for the 10th anniversary of Jackson’s death, but Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills where Jackson is interred expects at least 10,000 visitors to pay their respects Tuesday to the legendary singer, but none will be allowed inside the building where Jackson is laid to rest, Fox11 reported.
“They (fans) are welcome to come to the exterior of the Great Mausoleum to pay their respects, leave some beautiful flowers for Michael and his family and that would be wonderful,” Tom Smith, Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills Public Relations Director, told the station. Fans were also anticipated to gather at Jackson’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6925 Hollywood Blvd. in front of the TCL Chinese Theater.
Jackson’s estate released a statement marking the singer’s 2009 death. “Ten years ago today, the world lost a gifted artist and extraordinary humanitarian,” the statement said. “A decade later, Michael Jackson is still with us… he is more important than ever.
“But the true measure of Michael was his giving to others, which came in many forms,” the statement said. “He comforted the unfortunate at hospitals, in long term care facilities and at halfway houses. He equipped Neverland Ranch with medical facilities to accommodate patients seeking refuge from their lonely hospital rooms, and thousands came. He visited troops on bases around the world serving their country. Guinness World Records acknowledged his efforts with an award for Most Charities Supported by a Pop Star.”
The statement also included some of Jackson’s most impressive achievements as a musician.
“In a world where numbers are the measure of a man, Michael Jackson is a resounding success, whether by his 16 No. 1 singles and eight No. 1 albums in the U.S or the fact that his album “Thriller” is owned by more people on the planet than any album ever made and “Thriller” the short film is the only music video to have been inducted into the National Film Registry,” the statement said. “And when mastery of a craft is the measure, Michael Jackson’s divine abilities remain the yardstick by which others are measured and against which today’s masters still measure themselves.”
It also called on fans to make the world a better place by paying tribute to “his legacy of philanthropic work and ask music fans everywhere to make a difference in their community — whether it’s planting a tree, volunteering at a shelter, cleaning up a public space or helping someone who is lost find their way.” the statement read.
Jackson was deeply in debt when he died June 25, 2009 at the age of 50. In the year after his death, his estate has pulled in about $1 billion, including about $430 million in recording sales, almost $400 million in film and TV revenue and about $130 million from Jackson’s Mijac and Sony/ATV publishing interests, according to a report in USA Tuesday.
During the latter part of Jackson’s life, he was plagued by child molestation accusations, first in 1993, then again in 2005, but was never convicted of either. He reached an out-of-court settlement for $23 million dollars with the family of the boy who accused him in 1993.
Prior to the settlement, Jackson went on live television to declare his innocence. “I am not guilty of these allegations,” Jackson said. “But if I am guilty of anything, it is of giving all that I have to give to help children all over the world.”
In 2005, Jackson was accused in a lawsuit filed in Orange County by Daniel Kapone of “repeatedly and forcefully sexually” molesting Kapone from the time he was 2 years old until he was a teen. Kapone said the molestation included Jackson sticking his tongue down his throat, masturbating him and anally penetrating him by force.
The lawsuit claimed Jackson gave the plaintiff drugs and alcohol and subjected him to unnecessary cosmetic surgery as well as burning, torturing and beating him.
Jackson’s attorney, Thomas Mesereau, told the entertainment news Web site TMZ.com at the time that “the charges are ridiculous on their face. They will be vigorously defended.” Jackson was found not guilty of all charges on June 13, 2005.
In March 2019, HBO aired the documentary “Leaving Neverland” which portrayed the singer through the eyes of Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who both claimed Jackson sexually abused them when they were children. Jackson was never charged with molesting either boy. Both Robson and Safechuck testified on behalf of Jackson in the 1993 trial.
The Jackson estate condemned the documentary as “yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson” and called it a “public lynching.”
Jackson’s death overshadowed the death of Hollywood star Farrah Fawcett, 62, who died of complications from anal cancer about five hours before Jackson was pronounced dead. And because her death was widely anticipated — she was diagnosed in 2006 — most of the news coverage focused on Jackson.