‘I’m better off dead. I’m done’: Michael Jackson’s fateful prediction just a week before his death
Genetic condition had ruined his lungs and left him unable to sing
He became so skeletal, doctors believed he was anorexic
He had nightmares about being murdered – and wanted to die
He used swine flu as an excuse to avoid coming to England
He thought he was agreeing to 10 concerts – it was 50
Whatever the final autopsy results reveal, it was greed that killed Michael Jackson. Had he not been driven – by a cabal of bankers, agents, doctors and advisers – to commit to the gruelling 50 concerts in London’s O2 Arena, I believe he would still be alive today.
During the last weeks and months of his life, Jackson made desperate attempts to prepare for the concert series scheduled for next month – a series that would have earned millions for the singer and his entourage, but which he could never have completed, not mentally, and not physically.
Ailing: Michael Jackson may have worn a mask in public to protect his diseased lungs
Michael knew it and his advisers knew it. Anyone who caught even a fleeting glimpse of the frail old man hiding beneath the costumes and cosmetics would have understood that the London tour was madness. For Michael Jackson, it was fatal.
I had more than a glimpse of the real Michael; as an award-winning freelance journalist and film-maker, I spent more than five years inside his ‘camp’.
Many in his entourage spoke frankly to me – and that made it possible for me to write authoritatively last December that Michael had six months to live, a claim that, at the time, his official spokesman, Dr Tohme Tohme, called a ‘complete fabrication’. The singer, he told the world, was in ‘fine health’. Six months and one day later, Jackson was dead.
Some liked to snigger at his public image, and it is true that flamboyant clothes and bizarre make-up made for a comic grotesque; yet without them, his appearance was distressing; with skin blemishes, thinning hair and discoloured fingernails.
I had established beyond doubt, for example, that Jackson relied on an extensive collection of wigs to hide his greying hair. Shorn of their luxuriance, the Peter Pan of Neverland cut a skeletal figure