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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Michael Jackson Dead
Aired June 25, 2009 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Good evening.
Details are still coming in about the sudden death of Michael Jackson earlier today. His brother Randy says he was in full cardiac arrest when paramedics got to Michael's Los Angeles home. He was taken to UCLA Medical Center, where he died.
And now, the Jackson family's lawyer says Michael may have had trouble with prescription drugs.
Cher's going to join us.
Celine Dion, too.
And we'll be getting the world's reaction to this stunning event.
We begin with famed cardiologist, Dr. K.P. Shah. He's director of cardiology at the Cedar Sinai Heart Institute.
What, Dr. Shah, is sudden cardiac arrest?
DR. P.K. SHAH, DIRECTOR OF CARDIOLOGY, CEDARS SINAI HEART INSTITUTE: Sudden cardiac arrest is when the heart abruptly stops beating and quivers. And instead of beating or pumping, it basically quivers.
SHAH: Quivers. And that's called ventricular fibrillation. And that's the most common reason for sudden death. And it's usually triggered by a blockage in an artery of the heart, triggering a heart attack.
But not all cardiac arrests are caused by heart attacks. Sometimes sudden death can occur from a rupture of an aneurysm or a massive stroke or a massive blood clot in the lung and/or a massive blood loss -- any of these.
KING: Can it be due to things like drugs?
Can drugs cause it?
SHAH: Absolutely. Substance abuse, either recreational drugs or sedative drugs or narcotics, when taken in excess amount, can also stop the breathing and stop the heart.
KING: Will autopsy reveal cause? SHAH: If there is a structural abnormality of the heart muscle or the arteries of the heart that one would find in a traditional case of a heart attack, then we will have some clues from the autopsy. But sometimes, even with an autopsy, you cannot completely figure out the mechanism for sudden death.
KING: He apparently was having some difficulty last night, right?
SHAH: My understanding, at least watching from the news reports, is that a physician had come to see him the night before, presumably for some symptoms. It's difficult to guess what they might have been. Sometimes before a heart attack, you may have some warning symptoms of either chest pain or shortness of breath or things of that nature.
But I don't really know what exactly was the reason.
KING: This was not a heart attack?
SHAH: Well, we cannot rule out that possibility...
KING: We think?
We don't know.
SHAH: It could have been a heart attack. In a 50-year-old individual the most common cause of sudden death still is a heart attack.
KING: Dr. Shah will remain with us throughout and we'll be interspersing with questions.
We have with us on the phone the famed performer, the delightful friend, Celine Dion.
Are you there, Celine?
CELINE DION: Yes, I am.
How are you, Larry?
KING: I'm fine. What was -- I guess, obviously, shocked.
What are your thoughts on -- on Michael Jackson?
CELINE: I am shocked, like the rest of the world. It doesn't sink in right now. It's -- I'm overwhelmed by this tragedy.
I have to say to you that Michael Jackson's been an idol for me all my life. I remember being in this -- in my house when I was very, very young and having his posters above my bedroom. He's my -- been my idol all my life and looking up to him.
And my goal was to be maybe doing the same show business world as him. And I was listening to his music. And I hoped to be meeting him one day. And I have to tell you that I was very privileged to be on the same record company as him. And I did meet him a long, long time ago. And I was so thrilled and nervous when I had the privilege of meeting with him.
He was so kind. He gave me his autograph. And I have a hat of his with his autograph. And it always has an amazing meaning to me. But now, it has a totally different meaning to me.
CELINE: And we sang together. I was looking forward to seeing his show in London. My husband and I and Michael came to Las Vegas to see my show. And I was more than honored to have him
KING: Did he -- did he come backstage?
CELINE: He came backstage. We spent about an hour together and he had a lot of questions for me. He was very -- to me, he seemed to be like -- I want to know so much. I want to know how it is to be in Las Vegas, how it is, Celine, to sing every night here.
Is it difficult?
Is it difficult to sing here every night?
Is it demanding?
I felt that he wanted to know so much. And me, I wanted to know so much. I wanted to know so much from him. But it seemed that -- it seemed to me so fragile. And he wanted to have questions answered.
KING: Yes, on...
CELINE: And I was amazed to have him in my dressing room.
KING: When you're -- when you're performing and you have someone like that in the audience, are you constantly aware of his presence?
CELINE: Absolutely. You cannot do otherwise. And I have to say that I was questioning myself through the whole show.
Can I announce him?
Do I give him his -- his private time?
Am I going to abuse of him of his time to announce him?
I want to do it so much. And I did. And I did announce him. And the whole coliseum -- the whole crowd went crazy, because Michael Jackson was not only an extremely talented person, he was unique and he was a genius.
And when I said ladies and gentlemen, Michael Jackson is with us tonight, the people would -- I thought people were going to jump off the balcony.
CELINE: The people went crazy. And I have to say, it is such a loss, because right -- even right now, we were -- we're home and we're watching images. And it feels that -- it feels like when -- when Kennedy died, when Elvis Presley died. We're not only talking about a talented person dying. It's an amazing loss.
KING: Well, the Presley comparison is obvious, right?
They're in the same age group. Both of them shocked -- their death shocked the world. Both of them were totally unexpected passings.
CELINE: Absolutely. And I have to say that my -- my sympathy goes to the family. It's a -- it's a big loss. And I have to say that it's not even sinking in right now. It's just like I'm looking at the image on TV. And my son is eight years old. And he's got his song -- he doesn't -- he knows his name. He's watching -- he's listening to his song, but it's brand new for him.
Like I'm rediscovering Michael Jackson again. I grew up with him. And through my son, I'm discovering his music again. He will never die. He will never, ever, ever die. My...
KING: Celine, what...
CELINE: My sympathy goes to his whole family.
KING: From a performer's opinion -- I'm not going to keep you long -- from a performer's opinion, what was his greatness?
Was he a great singer?
CELINE: I think he was just an amazing genius -- dancing, singing. And I think it's so unfortunate, Larry, because since he's very little, he's under pressure. I think we all live under pressure differently. We live under pressure because we want to give the audience and the fans what they look for, what they expect. We want -- we want to do a better album. We want to do a better show.
I think Michael Jackson lived under pressure all the time, since he's five years old -- wanting to please his family and his fans and putting the bar so high that even, like -- he needed to be suppressing his own self.
CELINE: And I think it's unfortunate because the pressure was so tremendous, I am so sure. If you don't have -- if you only live under pressure and you don't have something like your family, your husband or your wife, your children -- I mean he's -- he probably lived so much, he didn't have the balance.
KING: Yes, Celine... CELINE: Yes?
KING: You're a doll. I thank you so much for sharing this time...
CELINE: I am sorry. My sympathy to the whole family. It is a big loss for all of us.
KING: Celine Dion.
Celine Dion set records at Cesar's Palace in Las Vegas in a brand new room. I saw her there. She was terrific.
In that same room, I saw another performer who was also terrific. And she's going to be with us right after the break. That's Cher.
Don't go away.
KING: By the way, we'll have a second edition of this program live at midnight, 9:00 Pacific. Normally, we -- we replay the earlier edition of LARRY KING LIVE. We'll have a second show, completely new, at midnight and 9:00 Pacific.
And Dr. P.K. Shah will remain with us. We'll intersperse some questions about sudden cardiac arrest.
With us on the phone now is the brilliant Cher, who has had an extraordinary career, similar to Jackson and is an actor, a multitalented performer.
What are your first thoughts about Michael Jackson, Cher?
CHER: You know, I was just sitting here listening to you talk and I'm like having a million different reactions -- things that I -- I didn't expect I would feel.
But, you know, when I think of him, I think of this young boy -- that teenager that I first met -- this like, adorable boy that I met who, you know, loved to look at my beaded socks and, you know, said to me once, Cher, could we -- do you think we could just go to the movies?
And we looked at each other and we went, nah, I don't think so. And we talked about, well, let's rent the movie out and we'll just bring all of our friends and -- you know, and then a young man that I remember, you know, dancing with all night and going to see, oh, "Dreamgirls" with.
And, you know, just -- I think of him more like -- like that, because in later years, he -- I didn't see him that much and when I did see him, his behavior was very strange to me. And so I didn't relate to that person as well. I didn't really understand him.
But the last time I worked with him, you know, we were doing something with Dick Clark. I don't remember the show. And he and I were rehearsing after one another. And he -- they were carrying his baby. I don't know, I couldn't see because they had the baby all wrapped up. And I don't know if it was a baby or a toddler. I don't really know how old the child was. Carrying it in this kind of blanket from the -- from our trailers outside into the rehearsal area on stage.
And I just kept thinking, why don't they just leave this poor child, you know, in the trailer with whoever is watching him instead of just like carting him back and forth and back and forth?
And I just thought this is so strange.
But, you know, Michael was always adorable to me. He was always sweet and, you know...
KING: Weren't they -- weren't The Jackson 5 on "Sonny and Cher?"
CHER: No, they were on "Cher." They were on my show.
KING: Your -- what are your memories of him as a guest?
CHER: Well, we -- I just remember we laughed all the time and because I didn't know how to do the dancing and they kept -- I kept going you guys, you do this all the time. Just let's do it one more time for the old woman so I can not look like, you know, I don't know what I'm doing out here.
And he just kept going, OK, come on, Cher. You're going to get this. You're going to get this. Come on. Let's -- let's do it. Let's just do it.
And I thought, my God, you know, I'm going to dance with this boy that's like the best, you know, dancer in the world.
But then I remember one night I -- we were at a party. I think it was on the Queen Mary. And we danced all night long. And I never thought about that, you know, I wasn't his equal as a dancer. We were just having a blast.
He was a great teenager. He was a great, optimistic, adorable...
CHER: ...not very confident, though. I mean he was so beautiful and adorable, but he didn't have...
KING: Why on Earth...
CHER: ...any confidence in that.
KING: Why on Earth do you think this beautiful and adorable child would go around changing his persona -- changing the way he looked?
CHER: You know, I don't know. I really don't know. Obviously, he didn't feel that. But, you know, I had heard like strange things. That night at that party, a guy came over and said something to me about him. And I went, you know what, this is the kind of crap that people start. They just start rumors. You have no idea what you're talking about. Get up from my table. Get out of my sight. I don't ever want to talk to you or see you again.
And he said Michael Jackson is going to change the way he looks completely. And he's -- he's going to change his skin. And I went, you know what -- well, I can't even tell you what I said, because it was all kind of really -- just think of me on -- at my worst, Larry, and you know what I said to him.
What -- Cher, his talent, how would you describe it?
He was -- was he a great singer?
CHER: Yes. He was a great singer. You know, it's like God gives you certain gifts. And some people he gives different gifts and some people he gives more gifts. And this child was just an extraordinary child, touched by this ability to have people feel him and feel people. And he just had that sense that you get and you don't get it from a living person, you get it from someplace else. And he had it.
And, yes, he was a great singer. I mean, he was a great singer. He is one of the great singers. You know, it's not like -- you can't write him off as just a pop thing, because he could sing like nobody else. You know, he was a genius, like Ray Charles; like Stevie Wonder; like people that, you know, like people that have a -- have a gift. They just have this gift. You don't know where it comes. You don't know how long it stays. You don't know what the impact is going to be.
But he was able to -- to connect with people. You know, he was a really soft-spoken boy. Always. Always. I remember once we were at this party and it was, I don't know if it was a New Year's Eve party. I don't remember. But I was with Val Kilmer. And Bob Mackey had made me a pair of beaded socks for my bir -- for my Christmas present.
And so Val was wearing them. And I remember Michael could not get over them. And he kept going, wow, I just love your socks.
CHER: Cher, I just love those socks. And I said, well, you know, they were a present from -- from Bob, for me for Christmas. And he said, I just love beaded socks. And, you know, he just was so...
KING: He was a kid.
CHER: Yes. He was just a kid.
KING: All right. Cher, I'm going to come back to you in a minute.
I want to -- because I want to talk about Farrah Fawcett. We should not let that go without commenting.
CHER: No. This is a rough day for me.
KING: All right. And, also, I want a quick question for Dr. Shah before we go to break.
When someone has sudden cardiac arrest, what would save them?
SHAH: Prompt resuscitation. If somebody is standing by and starts CPR and summons the paramedics and if they can arrive and defibrillate, using a defibrillator within the first couple minutes of collapse, they have a reasonable chance to survive.
KING: But it has to be immediate.
SHAH: Has to be immediate.
KING: Cher is going to stay with us.
We have this from Elizabeth Taylor's representative, Dick Guttman: "Dame Elizabeth is too devastated by the passing of her dear friend Michael Jackson to issue a statement at this time. We'll direct her words to you once we receive them."
We'll be back with more of Cher.
Don't go away.
KING: We have a statement from Madonna: "I can't stop crying over the sad news. I've always admired Michael Jackson. The world has lost one of its greats. But his music will live on forever. My heart goes out to his three children and other members of his family. God bless."
That's from Madonna.
(INAUDIBLE), we were going to do a complete program tonight, Cher, on Farrah Fawcett -- less of a shocking surprise, of course, than Michael's death.
What do you -- I know she was a friend.
What are your thoughts on her bravery? CHER: I have to tell you something, she was the strongest, toughest woman, person, fighting this disease. Larry, I have no words to describe how I watched her and felt such respect. And I don't think -- I could never be this strong. I just never would be able to be this strong.
I saw her go through so much pain and just cry, but keep going. And, you know, I wish she would have been able to continue her going to Germany, because I feel that if she had been -- if she'd stayed there and taken her treatments there, that this might -- we might not be talking about this particular topic today on your show.
KING: They say that people die the way they live.
Did she -- did she go with class?
CHER: Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, Larry, I cannot say enough. I just -- there are no words that I could say to let you know how brave, how strong, how much she fought and how much pain she was in and still how brave she was.
And I mean -- and just under really bad odds, too. I mean she had other things going on in her personal life that were just, you know, could just destroy you and you not even have a sickness. And she was still strong. And she was strong for that entire family.
KING: You know, don't you wonder why people with that -- that beautiful, that talent -- I mean look at that face -- has this much tragedy?
CHER: You know, I -- I don't understand these kind of things. I really don't. But I just -- I just remember, like, having conversations with her. And sometimes she would be really frightened. I mean, she had Alana. You know, Alana was there with her all the time.
But pretty much other than that, she was, you know, she was just being strong, you know?
And just being -- you know, she would cry and then get up and cry and then get up and go through the most painful treatments.
But she had a good attitude. And if she -- if she got devastated or if something bad happened, she would just try to think of the positive things and just, you know, hold onto what she could hang on to.
I mean, this chick was hanging onto thin air and still having a great attitude.
KING: I would talk to her quite frequently in the last year -- every two months or so. And she still, while the voice was very faint, she still had that I'm going to beat this.
CHER: You know, until the end -- I mean really until the end, I wasn't sure what was going to happen, because she had almost gone down and then come back up, you know. And I just kept thinking, I think she -- I don't know if this is -- I don't know that this disease is going to kill her. I just -- I was never really sure.
So, I mean, I was expecting it. I was expecting it, having talked to Alana the last couple of days and -- but, you know, it -- it was hard because it was so hard to watch someone fight so hard. And I'm sure that anyone who has friends or relatives or any loved ones who've had this in their life, they've seen this. I just never did.
And I just saw her be so strong, you know. And she seems like such a delicate girl, but she was just was -- it was unbelievable to me. I mean I was in awe of her constantly because of this.
KING: A couple of other quick things.
What's her legacy -- her pop culture legacy?
Is she a pop culture icon?
CHER: Absolutely. Look, no one is ever going to come close to that, you know, that poster. You know, I mean...
KING: That's the poster of all posters.
CHER: Right. It was. I mean I have to tell you...
KING: There it is.
CHER: ...the first time I met her, I was so jealous, because we were doing the "Sonny and Cher Show" and she came on as a guest. And all of the guys -- all of our crew, they just became like blithering idiots, you know?
CHER: They were just like complete idiots. And I looked at her and I thought, my God, this girl is so beautiful, I'm so jealous, you know.
So that was my first encounter with her.
Cher, it's been a delight talking to you.
As always, we appreciate you coming on with this.
And you're welcome to join us. We've got a midnight show, 9:00 your time.
CHER: All right.
Well, I just want -- you know, my prayers go out to Farrah's family, to Michael's family. I mean and I think, you know, prayers are energy. And if everyone has them, you know, their spirits will feel lighter because of it. KING: Well said, Cher.
And we're going to let Dr. Shah go.
But just a couple of other quick things for the director of cardiology at the Cedar Sinai Heart Institute.
Would you have bet that they got to him pretty fast, that everything was done that could have been done?
SHAH: Well, probably, because paramedics -- apparently the fire department arrived fairly promptly.
KING: And they know what they're...
SHAH: But we don't know how long...
KING: The Beverly Hills...
SHAH: ...he had been down for.
KING: The Beverly Hills department, they know what they're doing, right?
SHAH: Correct. Yes.
KING: And they work with...
SHAH: The best. They are the best. And paramedics are fantastic.
KING: And it could have -- a myriad of things could cause it, right?
KING: And drugs could be one of them?
SHAH: Drugs is definitely one of them.
KING: What would a drug do that would cause it?
KING: Give me an example.
SHAH: Cocaine, for example, or (INAUDIBLE)...
KING: And we don't want to say he was using cocaine.
SHAH: No, no, no. Not at all.
KING: Just as an example.
SHAH: As an example. Amphetamine and cocaine -- these can constrict blood vessels in the heart, trigger a heart attack or trigger an electrical malfunction in the heart, cause blood pressure to go up so that the aorta ruptures and cause a brain hemorrhage.
Then there are a group of drugs, narcotics or sedatives that can depress your breathing to the point where you stop breathing and the heart basically stops a few seconds later.
KING: Could there have been pain?
SHAH: Not necessarily. It's difficult to know precisely what actually happened to Mr. Jackson.
KING: But you go out fast, right?
SHAH: Yes. Once the heart stops, you lose consciousness immediately.
KING: Thanks for sharing this with us, P.K.
SHAH: Thank you for having me.
KING: And when we get more information, we'll have you come back.
SHAH: My pleasure.
KING: We've got a live midnight show, 900 p.m. Pacific. Smoky Robinson will be here and others.
More on the death of Michael Jackson, after this.
KING: We'll now take you outside Michael Jackson's house on this special, sad edition of LARRY KING LIVE.
And Kara Finnstrom will join us.
She's our CNN correspondent.
What's -- what's the scene there now -- Kara?
KARA FINNSTROM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Larry, right now, detectives are behind these big iron gates here. They've been behind these gates, inside the residences, for about two hours now.
These are detectives, actually, with one of the most elite investigative units with the LAPD. They tell us this is standard protocol after the death of someone as prominent as Michael Jackson.
They have not released any details of what they found. They do tell us it's just kind of a precursory investigation. They are going over the residence.
This is where paramedics came earlier today, about 12:20 West Coast Time, and found Michael Jackson in full cardiac arrest. It took them about six minutes to get -- or at least we would estimate that -- estimate that to get him from here to the L.A. Hospital, where he later died.
KING: Kara, you say it's standard procedure of someone prominent. Would they do it for a prominent businessman? For a prominent lawyer? Would they send over a homicide team?
FINNSTROM: Well, this is their robbery and homicide division. It is an elite unit. It doesn't go out after every death. The words they gave us was standard procedure after the death of very prominent people, like Michael Jackson.
They say they have no -- they don't want us to think there's any suggestion of foul play here. It's just he was very prominent and they are going to look into his death.
KING: At the UCLA Medical Center, which is, by the way, a two billion dollar edifice, much of it named in honor of the late Ronald Reagan, Thea Andrews stands by. She's an "Entertainment Tonight" correspondent. Still crowds there?
THEA ANDREWS, "ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT": Many crowds, Larry. There are thousands of people here on all sides of the medical center. As you said, it's a huge facility. It takes up more than a whole city block. Getting here, trying to find your cameras was hard, because there are so many news people out here, thousands of crowds, helicopters buzzing over head, and, of course, many supporters of Michael Jackson, many people devastated by this loss.
KING: What has the hospital said?
ANDREWS: The hospital has been mum. They haven't released a statement yet. What I can tell you is that ET has exclusively obtained the last photos of Michael Jackson, as he was being removed by paramedics from his home. As you heard earlier, it's very close to here, about six minutes away.
He was in full cardiac arrest. Paramedics attempted to revive him during transport here to the hospital, and they continued to attempt to revive him inside the emergency room. Obviously, they were not successful.
But as you see the photo -- I don't know if you have the photo up there, Larry. They're attempting to revive Michael. His eyes are closed.
KING: How did you get that photograph?
ANDREWS: I don't know, Larry. You'll have to ask my executive producer.
KING: That's a heck of a job of reporting. We'll be checking back with you.
ANDREWS: We're always on the job, Larry. KING: We'll be checking back with both of you. Joining us now on the phone is Randy Jackson, no relation. He's the judge on "American Idol," and certainly a famed musician and producer.
In the lexicon of music, Randy, where does Michael Jackson stand?
RANDY JACKSON, "AMERICAN IDOL": I tell you what, Larry, I'm just saddened as everyone else. It's the biggest shock, I think, in -- probably one of the biggest shocks in my lifetime. He's one of the greatest performers, if not the greatest performer ever. I mean, when you look at how many people he inspired, and how the music inspired people, I'm saying, this guy lit up the stage like no one else.
KING: Did his private life affect the professional appreciation?
JACKSON: I think maybe it marred it a bit. But, I mean, you know, when you're that great, when you're miles beyond everyone else as a performer and entertainer -- you know, we would always say, some people would probably disagree with me, but you would always say Michael Jackson is one song away from a big, huge comeback.
KING: What, if you were writing the story of "Thriller" -- what did "Thriller" do that no other album ever did?
JACKSON: I think "Thriller" did a bunch of things. Music-wise, the great Quincy Jones and Michael, I think it changed the face of music forever. It also broadened the base of music. I mean, it brought theatrics into music. It merged different styles of music together. There was a lot of theater, a lot of Broadway in it. There's a lot of soul, a lot of pop, a lot of rock.
It was a mirage of every kind of musical genre. Video-wise, he completely changed the game, Larry. The videos were just monumental. They were just great pieces of work. We will look back an this and people will look back on this for a long time. This is really legendary status. This is not pop star for the moment.
KING: When you say he transcended race, too, as a performer, did he not? Michael Jackson was colorless.
JACKSON: He transcended everything. He was colorless. I mean, just so talented. I mean, there's such a barrage of people that he inspired. Everywhere that I've been today here in L.A., in the studio where I'm working, everyone is just so saddened. I haven't seen something affect people like this in a really long time.
KING: At the time of his death, he was rehearsing for what was supposed to be his comeback, an unprecedented 50 shows in London, was set to open July 15th. The information I had is they had postponed it for one week. I know Elizabeth Taylor was scheduled to fly out for his opening. What was that going to do for his career?
JACKSON: That was going to elongate the career, and remind people that he's a true legend and an icon. I got reports a couple days ago that the rehearsals were going amazingly well, that the band was sounding great and he was sounding great. I'm just still in shock. I can't even believe it's even possible, you know?
KING: He had a down period. The last album did not sell, right, or did not do as well as others?
KING: How well would he have come back in your musical, professional opinion?
JACKSON: Well, I think he would have come back greatly. If you remember -- I don't know if people realize this, those '02 shows in the UK were all sold out. They all sold out in a matter of hours, if not minutes, 50 show. They put the first ten up, and another 30 sold, another 20. It was really going to reinstate him. It put him back in the arena that was perfect for him, because he is still one of the greatest performers ever.
KING: Do you rank this death with that of Presley and John Lennon?
JACKSON: I really, really do, Larry. I mean, we've really, really lost a great one. I don't think there will be anybody ever like Michael Jackson, again. I think some will try to come close in some ways. I mean, a true original. I mean, it inspired everyone. When you look at N-Sync, when you look at the Backstreet Boys, when you look at Chris Brown, when you look at Usher, when you look at Rihanna, when you look at Madonna -- just everyone you think about -- you know, this guy inspired everyone.
KING: Randy, what we're looking at now is a helicopter, we're told, carrying the body of Michael Jackson. I don't know where it's going. Obviously, it has left the hospital. I don't know -- they couldn't have performed an autopsy this quick.
Does anyone from control, do we know where it's going? No, we don't know yet. We definitely know the body is on that helicopter. When we find out where -- I thought it would remain at the hospital. Maybe some special place they take it to. You wouldn't know, would you, Randy?
JACKSON: I don't know. I wouldn't know where they're going. Yes.
KING: Now we're told it's going to the coroner's office, which, of course, is not at UCLA Medical Center. I would imagine it's at downtown Los Angeles, the coroner's office. A very famed office, the coroner's office in Los Angeles. Randy, thanks.
JACKSON: Thank you so much, Larry.
KING: Randy Jackson. Quite a talent in his own right, judge, "American Idol," and, of course, famed musician and producer. We're told that helicopter carrying Michael Jackson's body has left UCLA Medical Center heading to the coroner's office, where the autopsy will be performed. It takes a long time, at least two, sometimes to six weeks to get results of an autopsy, because they have to send out a lot of tissue and body parts for analysis and chemical evaluation.
Aaron Neville is now on the phone, a legendary musician and recording artist, third youngest of the famous Neville Brothers. What's your reaction, Aaron?
AARON NEVILLE, MUSICIAN: I'm so shocked. I was just -- seemed like he was getting ready to start his tour. Hoping I would have gotten the chance to see him. I've never seen him live.
KING: What was his impact to you as a performer?
NEVILLE: Oh, man, it hit me in the heart. I was on the airplane. When it landed, somebody told me what happened. I didn't believe it at first. I said, it can't be. You know? I was just calling him the Mohamed Ali of the entertainment world, you know?
KING: Did he affect you as a performer?
NEVILLE: He affected everybody. I would never have tried to do the Moon Walk or any of that stuff he was doing. But I know everybody and his brother tried to copy him, you know, in some form.
KING: Did you ever work with him?
NEVILLE: No, I haven't. No, I never got to meet him. I feel like I know him, you know? I feel like I know him. I know his heart.
KING: Would you have liked to have worked with him?
NEVILLE: I would have loved it. It would have been so real.
KING: This --
NEVILLE: Man, it's sad.
KING: His affect is worldwide. Have you spoken to your brothers?
NEVILLE: You know, I just landed. I'm in Denver. I'm going to meet up with them in a little while in Reno. Yes, you know, coming from a musical family, I can understand how his family must feel right now, and his extended family around the world. Everybody loved him.
KING: They sure did. Thank you, Aaron. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.
NEVILLE: All right. Thank you, Larry.
KING: Aaron Neville. Thea Andrews of "Entertainment Tonight" is still -- did you see the helicopter leave?
ANDREWS: I did not see the helicopter leave. Larry, there are so many helicopters up there. I wouldn't know which one it was. I mean, this is a huge scene out here. More trucks than I think I've seen outside the hospital ever to report any celebrity death, and helicopters buzzing overhead constantly. I'm not that good at spotting which are the medical ones.
KING: They were smart to take it by helicopter rather than go street. That would have been a fiasco.
ANDREWS: With all the people out on the streets here, it would have been. I mean, Larry, my car actually got swarmed when I approached the hospital. So you can only imagine what would have happened if they actually tried to take to the streets.
KING: It's landing now -- it has landed at the coroner's -- the building where the coroner's office is held, as the famous symbol of the Red Cross on the top of the building. Are people still milling around, Thea?
ANDREWS: People are moving all over. There's no signs of the crowd dissipating. There are people. There are paparazzi, gawkers, people moving all around, trying to see if someone is going to come out of the hospital. No sign of the crowd dispersing here at all, Larry.
I'm assuming they'll probably be here well into the night. As you know, this is also very close to the -- where the students live. There's a lot of students here, UCLA students, even though it's the summer. I wouldn't be surprised if you see a vigil-type crowd gathering here as the night progresses.
KING: What are they saying?
ANDREWS: Well, I'm a little bit far away. As you can see, they're across the street from me. Behind me, you can see signs, a lot of supporters. I saw people with Michael Jackson t-shirts, who had come out to support him during his trial. They had old t-shirts from the trial. Obviously, people that have been long-time fans of Michael.
Just as I was sitting here, I could hear people chanting over there. I couldn't hear what they're saying. But this is a man who has touched so many people. Even hearing Hollywood celebrities talking about -- everyone from P. Diddy to Donny Osmond, from Liz Taylor to Donald Trump, saying how he personally touched their lives. It's a person who really made people feel things. You see that at a gathering like this.
KING: Thea, hang with us. As we watch the helicopter, right in direct view there, on top of where the coroner will examine the body, let me read you a statement from Britney Spears. "I was so excited to see his show in London. We were going to be on tour in Europe at the same time. I was going to fly in to see him. He's been an inspiration throughout my entire life. I'm devastated that he's gone."
Joining us by phone now is Reverend Jesse Jackson. Reverend Jackson and yours truly and Michael Jackson were all together at a dinner in 2007, where I was proud to be honored by Jesse Jackson's group. So was Michael. We were all at the same table. Tonight, I will never forget -- I believe we have a picture of the three of us on that occasion.
Jesse, what are your thoughts right now?
JESSE JACKSON, CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: Well, I'm traumatized. We are out of our joy and he's out of his pain. I have been listening to Michael since he was maybe 13 years old. We were doing our first expo. We had the lineup. Quincy Jones was there. Nancy Wilson, Sammy Davis; it was a very tight show. So someone said these kids want to perform. They're over at the Regal across the street. Junas Griffin (ph), who worked with Dr. King, said, you've got to hear them. I say, I want to hear them, but we are busy. Come downstairs and meet them.
They were in the station wagon, you know, with the U-Haul attached to the Jackson Five, with Joe. We said, well, we can't say no. They performed "ABC" at that particular expo. Of course, it took off from there.
KING: By the way, we are now showing the body being -- has left the helicopter. It's going into the vehicle that will take it to the coroner's office. How do you deal -- what do you say to a family at a case like this? Do you have to do this a lot, Reverend Jackson? How do you put this in words?
JACKSON: Death is a mystery. And when the suddenness of death appears, we have to lean to our faith and not to our own understanding. And you simply pray to ask god to, in time, reveal the mystery and to relieve the burden from your heart. That's all you really can do.
Again, having been with him across these years and his family to watch him grow up, I think so much about the Victory Tour that kicked off in Kansas City, with Don King, the time that Michael was performing, of course, at the great theaters around the word. I was on my way to London to be with him July the 7th, before the -- he delayed it one day.
I would say that we ought to give a shout out tonight, because Barry Gordon, Susan Lepass (ph) and Quincy Jones were great factors in his stellar career. He had all the raw stuff, but (INAUDIBLE) I remember Susan Lepass taking him and the kids out to Fred Seigal (ph) getting blue jeans. And, of course, there's a Michael Jackson and there's a Quincy Jones and that whole Thriller drama.
KING: You're not kidding. He sure did. Thanks, Jesse. We'll be calling on you again. Now joining us on the phone, the disco icon, the one and only, Donna Summer. Donna, you knew Michael, did you not?
DONNA SUMMER, DISCO LEGEND: Yes, I did, yes.
KING: We're seeing the vehicle transporting the body now over to the coroner, who I gather will be giving the autopsy tomorrow, not tonight. What are your thoughts, Donna?
SUMMER: I have to go on stage and sing tonight. It is extremely difficult. It is such an incredible shock to me. I -- you know, I've known Michael for many years. We've worked together. We've done different things together over the years.
I know his family. It's a total shock. I don't even have words to say. I mean, I'll miss Michael. The world will miss Michael. I'm sure the world is in a state of grief right now.
KING: Where are you performing tonight?
SUMMER: I'm up north of Los Angeles at a casino, Shumosh (ph).
KING: Will you talk about him?
SUMMER: I certainly will. We're going to try to dedicate a song to him tonight.
KING: Donna, what was his greatness?
SUMMER: His greatness was perfection. And when you meet people like that, who are so given to doing things at the utmost and the highest level, then it makes you up your game. Michael was one of those people who wouldn't stop until he was perfect. He kept going even after that.
So I will personally miss him. I will miss his light. I will miss his star. I will miss who he has caused other people to become because of his greatness. He upped the standard.
KING: Did you let the stories about his personal life affect your feelings about him?
SUMMER: Not at all. Not at all. Because I don't, personally, know that those stories are true. I tend to want to not believe them. I know Michael. I can't even imagine he would ever try to hurt a child. I felt more like it was exploitation, personally, from other people. I don't know if it's true or not. I just -- you know, I just think he was a sitting duck at times.
KING: Donna, thank you very much for expressing your thoughts. The great Donna Summer.
After a very -- route from the landing of the helicopter to evidently where the coroner's office is -- this is all somewhere in downtown Los Angeles, certainly in the back lot, so to speak, if we can use a Hollywood term. The body is now in that building where the autopsy will take place. As we said earlier, results of autopsies take some time. The interest in this one will be great, and the expectation, the desire to know. All we want to know is knowledge. We can't bring him back. We want to know why he left us.
You're watching a special edition of LARRY KING LIVE. We will have another one at midnight eastern, 9:00 Pacific. Anderson Cooper will be with you at the top of the hour. We'll be back with more in a moment.
KING: In a moment, we're going to talk with Tommy Mottola, the legendary music executive who in his previous post, as the world wide chairman and CEO of Sony, his roster of superstars included -- hard to say this -- the late-Michael Jackson. Let's go back to Michael Jackson's home for a moment. Kara Finnstrom, CNN, is standing by. Is the -- are the children arriving, Kara?
FINNSTROM: Larry, what he can tell you is that three SUVs just pulled in. We also understand three SUVs left from the hospital a short while ago. You see the gates closing right now. I can't confirm for you who was inside. But these are the first three vehicles that have been allowed by police into, you know, the residence since we've arrived.
So those cars going in just a short while ago. Also inside, Larry, are some detectives with an elite investigative unit with the LAPD. They've been in there for a number of hours now. They say this is protocol. They're doing their standard investigation, looking into what may have occurred shortly before his death.
They say this is no indication that there was any foul play. But they need rule out everything.
KING: SUVs, I assume -- well, hate to assume. But probably was family. Thanks, Kara. We'll be checking back you. Let's go to on the phone with Tommy Mottola, the legendary music executive. What's your reaction to this, Tommy? You were so close to his success?
TOMMY MOTTOLA, FMR. SONY MUSIC EXECUTIVE: Well, it's a day that saddens all of us all over the world. You know, Michael is certainly an American icon who is the most famous person in the world. If you look at the history pop culture, Sinatra, Elvis and Michael really, really are the icons that represent all that -- that whole culture. You know? And his loss is just so tremendous, because he was so inspirational from an early age of five or six, and then the Jackson Five, and then on to becoming the pop icon that everybody knew and loved.
And the musical styles of bridging rhythm and blues and pop music created a whole new sound, you know, in every space of the world. And the inspiration that he provided for all of us, myself included, is just such an incredible loss.
KING: What was he like to work with?
MOTTOLA: Well, Michael was a perfectionist. Michael, you know, would work around the clock, 48, 72 hours at a time. I mean, he would lock himself in the studio. He would call me 3:00 a.m. in the morning and ask me if we were going to sell a hundred million albums on the next record. I mean, he was an absolute perfectionist. And he demanded perfection from everyone that he worked with.
KING: How many albums did he sell for Sony?
MOTTOLA: Hundreds of millions.
KING: Would that be a record of any performer anywhere?
MOTTOLA: I would have to say, yes, it would be, yes.
KING: And you said Elvis and you said Michael --
MOTTOLA: Well, I mean, when you think about the icons that have been created --
MOTTOLA: -- in our time, I mean, Sinatra, Elvis and Michael certainly represent, I think, that triumvirate of a whole popular culture that represents, you know, what we -- what we think of as -- as the defining people.
KING: Yes. And the Beatles too, right?
MOTTOLA: Absolutely, 100 percent.
KING: All right. When you deal with a perfectionist, though, can't that, at times, be difficult, since they want everything, everything right?
MOTTOLA: Well, dealing with any artist is always a challenge. And certainly Michael -- you know, Michael, being the perfectionist that he was, was always challenging. But, you know, what happened was the result of the work and the time and the effort that he put in always produced an extraordinary result.
KING: Was he good at showing up when he was supposed to record?
MOTTOLA: Michael -- Michael was reliable. Michael, when he was into a project, he would be there. You know? I think -- you know, there are things -- so many things -- I remember going on the set of some of the videos where he would work countless hours, and have to show up, you know, 5:00 a.m. in the morning. And he'd be there.
And don't forget, what he did was show cutting-edge with video. He defined the video age as we know it. There will be -- there was no one before him, and there will be no one after him that ever represents what he did in the era of video.
KING: So well said. Thanks, Tommy.
MOTTOLA: Thank you, Larry.
KING: Thanks, Tommy Mottola. He was the world wide chairman and CEO of Sony. Lisa Marie Presley, once married to Michael Jackson, said this: "I'm so very sad and confused, with every emotion possible. I'm heart broken for his children, who I know were everything to him, and to his family. This is such a massive loss on so many levels that words fail me." And her mother, Priscilla Presley, released this statement: "I'm in shock, as I know everyone must be. What a tragic loss. My heartfelt thoughts are with his family at this very difficult time."
Let's check back in with Thea Andrews with "Entertainment Tonight." She's at the UCLA Medical Center. You have already seen the body leave that center, head downtown to the coroner's office. There are still people around?
ANDREWS: Still many people around. And I've been told that the Jackson family just held a press conference inside the hospital. The hospital, the doctors did not speak. But Jermaine spoke on behalf of his family. He's a family spokesperson. He described what happened today at -- at Michael Jackson's house, how he was transported from the family's point of view.
From what I'm told, there were no other family members at the actual press conference, but they are still inside. Randy and Jermaine were seen hugging each other in sorrow. Latoya Jackson was seen inside, his mother Katherine. I've been told that Joe Jackson was on his way from Las Vegas. I don't know if he's arrived yet.
KING: Thea, thank you. Noble reporting in a difficult situation. And I know --
KING: And I know that work you do for "Entertainment Tonight" speaks for itself. Thea Andrews -- We thank all the people who have joined us.
Couple of personal notes before we turn it over to Anderson Cooper -- and a reminder, we'll be back at midnight eastern, 9:00 Pacific. I had a kind of an intertwined life with Michael Jackson. I first interviewed him when he was, I guess, 10 or 11 years old with the Jackson Five in Miami. I was doing my radio show and they were great guests and he stood out.
In fact, everyone there, the control room, they would all say, who is this kid? He was just so ebullient and effusive. He was fantastic to be around.
Later on, of course, things would be up and down in Michael Jackson's life. I saw him at RFK Stadium. I sat way, way up there, near the top of the stadium. I could barely see him, but I did have binoculars and got to enjoy that concert immensely, what I could hear of it. Saw a little of it, what I could hear of it.
Then when he went on trial in 2005, I had overheard a conversation at Madon House Restaurant (ph) here at Beverly Hills at the next table, and then the conversation dwelled over to our table, in which a lawyer was saying that people who were pressing charges against Michael Jackson were, in fact, extorting from him.
So I had told this to people. And they -- they subpoenaed me to come and appear at the Jackson trial. And before I appeared, there was a hearing. And the judge did not allow me to testify, because it was all hearsay. I was saying what someone else told me. I understood that completely. So did Michael. He gave me a nice smile on the way out.
Then the last time I was with him, you see right there, was at this Jesse Jackson's wonderful charity. I had this special dinner they give every year, where they honor people. And I was one of those proud enough to be honored, and so was Michael. And we sat at the same table and talked with a conversation like everybody makes, who are your guests coming up? Some day I will do your show. Yes, I wish. That never happened.
But that was the last time I saw Michael Jackson. And then I learned information the other day from a friend of mine, who had arranged for the plane that was going to fly Elizabeth Taylor over to London for opening night of Michael Jackson's soon-to be 59th concert, that sadly will never take place.
Again, we'll be back at Midnight Eastern, 9:00 Pacific, continuous coverage of this tragedy. And don't forget, another loss today, Farrah Fawcett. Our coverage continues now with Anderson Cooper and "AC 360." Anderson?