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Lou Dobbs Tonight

Michael Jackson Dies

Aired June 25, 2009 - 19:00   ET


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, everybody. Breaking news about Michael Jackson -- now in the past few minutes, the "Los Angeles Times" and The Associated Press have reported that Jackson has died. CNN cannot confirm those reports, but earlier the entertainer was taken to the hospital in Los Angeles in cardiac arrest. Sources familiar with his condition told CNN that he went into a coma. Now Kara Finnstrom is outside Jackson's house in Los Angeles now. Kara, what can you tell us?

KARA FINNSTROM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is the Bel Air home where he was staying. This is a multimillion dollar neighborhood. He was renting this home. We understand paramedics came here, took him on about a six-minute ride to the L.A. hospital, where according to the "L.A. Times," he has died. You could hear helicopters overhead, lots of media out here.

The police have come out now and blocked off the street so that fans cannot continue to come up, but you can see that a number of people from the neighborhood have come up. Kitty, what we understand, though, is that his die-hard fans, those that actually camp out -- there's about six vans that we understand that are camped out here every day have moved to the hospital now to be closer to this pop superstar and to try and get the latest information.

PILGRIM: Kara, what kind of people are you seeing here? Are they very young? What's the age demographic? I know he had universal appeal.

FINNSTROM: Yeah, we are seeing a little bit of everything out here today and many people have actually brought out their BlackBerries, they're texting the latest information they can to family and friends. Some people are taking some pictures. And I want to bring in a couple of the neighbors here who have walked over and you've been hearing these reports from the "L.A. Times" that he has passed away. You say you've walked, you know, through these neighborhoods. And we've got two generations of fans here. Tell us a little bit about your thoughts upon hearing this news.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is very devastating to hear this. He was an icon and he invented the moonwalk, he created the moonwalk and I just passed on his dancing and his music to my children and my daughter, Chloe has danced to his songs. And it's just devastating -- absolutely.

FINNSTROM: Chloe, I know you said you and your friends all loved Michael Jackson. You actually did some dance routines to his music. Tell us about that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well we were just like we had a couple of routines that we would do like "Thriller" and a couple of his songs and we just had fun with his music and you know it would like put a smile on our face. So it's sad.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was amazing. He was absolutely amazing.

FINNSTROM: Kitty, the sentiment that we seem to be getting over and over from people out here is they heard helicopters in the air, they turned on the TV sets, they heard this news and they just couldn't believe it. So they wandered out here to try and get some confirmation, and they're just kind of standing here in the streets kind of in disbelief. This was a man known for his dramatics, known for theatrics and they just can't quite believe that this is true.

PILGRIM: Kara, for fans all around the world and throughout the country, give us a little bit of a scene set for where you are now, what his neighborhood is like, and are you seeing some of his neighbors actually come to this site?

FINNSTROM: Yeah, many of these people are his neighbors. Now they told us, especially the two women we just spoke with, they were getting tours to go see -- tour tickets to go see him in London. They hadn't been able to meet him here in their own neighborhood, so that kind of gives you a feel for the exclusivity of this area.

Lots of gates -- these are multimillion dollar homes. Lots of stars live around here. When we first arrived there were still tour buses driving by his home. People, you know, seeing all the commotion going on, kind of even leaning out of these tour buses, asking what's going on. Since that time, police have sealed off the area, but we did speak with one of those tour bus drivers earlier.

She saw the commotion. She saw the fire trucks come out. She saw the paramedics arrive. She didn't actually see Michael Jackson being escorted out, but a lot of emotion here today from a lot of fans who also happen to be his neighbors.

PILGRIM: Thanks very much, Kara Finnstrom on the scene in Los Angeles.

Now as we reported, the cause of Michael Jackson's reported death was cardiac arrest. Senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us now from Atlanta. Now Elizabeth, what can you tell us about cardiac arrest and its impact?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, cardiac arrest sometimes people confuse that with a heart attack. They are two very different things. In a heart attack, the heart, it loses some oxygen. Some of the muscle loses oxygen. Sudden cardiac arrest, heart function stops. The heart stops working. And that's why with sudden cardiac arrest, someone needs help, ideally, within three to five minutes.

There are some really sobering statistics I'm going to tell you right now, Kitty, about cardiac arrest. Few attempts at resuscitation succeed after 10 minutes. And it's estimated that more than 95 percent of cardiac arrest victims die before reaching the hospital. Now Kitty, I was on the phone with a cardiologist and I said, gosh, he was only 50.

What do you think? Is that young? And they said no. Fifty is not young for cardiac arrest for a man and particularly not for an African-American man. African-American men have a higher rate of cardiac arrest than white men -- Kitty.

PILGRIM: Elizabeth, his general health, of late, he had the appearance of fragility. Tell us what you think about and what you're hearing from doctors about underlying health conditions and the survivability of cardiac arrest with those conditions?

COHEN: Right. I wish I knew more about Michael Jackson's chronic conditions. Unfortunately, there are all these rumors and it's hard to know what's true, but there is no question that if someone has chronic conditions, they are much less likely to survive cardiac arrest, which is extremely difficult to survive anyhow.

Even in someone who doesn't have chronic conditions, so if someone has chronic heart disease to begin with or diabetes or really any other serious chronic disease, it makes it harder to survive. Now what we're hearing here at CNN, what we've confirmed is that he is in a coma. That is what happens when the brain doesn't get enough blood, when the brain doesn't get oxygen, those neurons die and people go into comas.

I asked a cardiologist at Mass General, a doctor who teaches at Harvard. I say -- I said what percentage of the time, when you've had patients with cardiac arrest go into a coma, what percentage of the time do they wake up after that coma, and he said a small percentage.

PILGRIM: Elizabeth, we understand that he was training and attempting to put another production on, which had been delayed. What kind of training would a person be able to sustain if they had a weakened heart condition? Could this have brought it on, I guess is the question that I'm getting to here.

COHEN: Right. I mean what's interesting is what I would really love to know is did he -- did he have a weakened heart, because you can have cardiac arrest without having had a chronic weakened heart. And if he did have a weakened heart, did he know it? I mean many, many people -- I mean I've even heard statistics like a third to a half who have cardiac arrest had no idea they even had any kind of heart problems.

So sometimes, often, unfortunately, the first sign that you have heart disease is that you suffer cardiac arrest, so -- or actually that you die. So certainly, if you have a weak heart, doing intensive physical training can indeed bring on something terrible like cardiac arrest.

PILGRIM: All right. Thank you very much -- Elizabeth Cohen. Thanks, Elizabeth. COHEN: Thank you.

PILGRIM: Let's bring in A.J. Hammer. He's the host of Headline News -- "Showbiz Tonight HLN" for more now. A.J., what was Michael Jackson doing in Los Angeles before he was taken to the hospital?

A.J. HAMMER, HOST, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT HLN: Well we don't know what he was doing immediately today or in the past few days, Kitty, but we do know generally speaking that he was preparing for this major concert event, this undertaking he was going to be doing in London coming up this summer, originally scheduled for July, originally scheduled as a rigorous 50-show concert series.

Now, when you're preparing for it, yeah, there is certainly a lot involved. And Michael Jackson shows -- and this was going to be no exception -- are big. They're bold and there's a lot of onstage activity -- Michael Jackson, of course very well known for his dance moves and for keeping the energy level at his shows very high.

If we take it back a couple of months to when this concert series was first announced, Michael Jackson appeared at a press conference to let the world know that he was back, that he was doing these shows. And I remember remarking on my show that night and to various people here at CNN that Michael looked terrific, relatively speaking.

You mentioned earlier that we're used to seeing him sort of frail. We saw him get up on that stage, albeit, for a very brief time, and really show us that he certainly had the enthusiasm, he appeared to have the energy to take on this massive concert event coming up in London. Now, anybody who signs on to do any kind of a concert event of a decent scale is going to have to undergo a physical.

Well, Michael Jackson, for something that inevitably was having millions upon millions of dollars poured into it had to undergo a rigorous physical. A couple of months ago there were some rumors floating around, Kitty, about the possibility that Michael was having health issues, that perhaps, even, he was suffering from cancer.

That was one of the rumors that was out there. So we spoke with the head of AEG -- that is the concert promoter who put together this deal with Michael Jackson for these shows this summer in London. At the time, back in May, the head of AEG told us that Michael was, in fact, in terrific health, that Michael underwent a vigorous physical exam and that he came out with flying colors and that before performing and going through with the concert event, he would have to undergo another physical exam.

I'm not a doctor. I would have to imagine if there were some serious health and heart problems at that time, they certainly would have shown up in the type of exam that is typical before they will sign on the dotted line for a multimillion dollar event.

PILGRIM: A.J, considerable insight. Thanks very much -- A.J. Hammer. Joining us now on the phone is Brian Oxman. He is a longtime family friend and spokesman and he was just in the hospital with Jermaine and the other relatives. Brian, what can you tell us?

BRIAN OXMAN, FAMILY SPOKESMAN (via phone): Well, I saw Jermaine and hugged him. I saw Randy and hugged him. Everyone is rather speechless. I cried with them and I am just stunned. The atmosphere here is so very sad and we are just stunned. I can't tell you what has taken place, except that everyone is very stunned at the events that have happened.

PILGRIM: What kind of detail are you hearing from doctors, Brian?

OXMAN: I have not spoken to the doctors. I have spoken to the family members. They do not know. They just don't know. They are not in the condition to even speak. We hugged and we cried and very few words have been passed. When I saw Randy I just hugged him and we embraced. No one has said anything and I am now -- I can't get any cell reception inside the hospital, so I'm in the front of the hospital and Michael Jackson music is being played -- "Thriller" is being played -- "Beat It" was played. It's bouncing off the walls. It is one of the most unbelievable, surreal scenes I have ever experienced.

PILGRIM: I'm sure it's enormously emotionally distressing to you, Brian. Brian, I have to ask you, can you confirm to us that he is dead?

OXMAN: No one will confirm anything to me. I can only tell you that the family members are crying and I just have not been able to confirm anything, other than to hug them and tell them that I love them and this is the scene here at the hospital -- there's just a lot of tears.

PILGRIM: Brian, what family members are at the hospital right now?

OXMAN: Latoya is at the hospital. Jermaine is at the hospital and Randy are the ones who I have seen.

PILGRIM: Do we know if -- who, if anyone, was with him at the time? Do you know any of that?

OXMAN: No, I do not know. I believe that Frank Little (ph) was with him at the time, but I don't know that for sure. That's what I have been told.

PILGRIM: Are they keeping the family secluded from the rest of the hospital to give them updates?

OXMAN: They are in a room by themselves. They are very quiet and they are sobbing. It is just one of those experiences that I don't think I will ever forget.

PILGRIM: Do you know if anyone else is expected to join them? Are they expecting any other family members?

OXMAN: I know that Joe Jackson is on his way to the hospital. He was in Las Vegas and he is on his way.

PILGRIM: Brian, you're a friend of his. Do you have knowledge of what kind of physical condition he was in?

OXMAN: Michael has always been in very fine physical condition. The one thing which has bothered me so much is the discussion that one day he was going to be dead and this is that -- I don't know if this is that day. I can only tell you that this is not something which has been unexpected, any time there was a report, because of the medications which Michael was under, this family has been trying for months and months and months to take care of Michael Jackson.

The people who have surrounded him have been enabling him. If you think that the case of Anna Nicole Smith was an abuse, it is nothing in comparison to what we have seen taking place in Michael Jackson's life.

PILGRIM: Brian, you were aware of his current physical schedule, I'm sure. Tell us what he was trying to do, what he was trying to accomplish physically, and why you would have concern about that.

OXMAN: Michael had appeared at the rehearsals a couple of times. He was very seriously trying to be able to do those rehearsals. His use of medications had gotten in the way. His injuries, which he had sustained performing where he had broken a vertebrae and he had broken his leg from a fall on the stage were getting in the way.

I do not know the extent of the medications that he was taking, but the reports that we have been receiving and the families is that it was extensive and this is -- this is something which I feared and it is something which I warned about. I don't know the cause of all this, so I can't tell you what the ultimate result of it's going to be, but I can tell you for sure when you warn people that this is what's going to happen and then it happens, where there is smoke, there is fire. This is a case of abuse of medications, unless some other cause is involved, which I don't know about.

PILGRIM: So Brian, you're telling us that you were able to observe some of these rehearsals and you found him to be in a somewhat weakened condition, is that what you're saying?

OXMAN: No, no. He was in fine condition. We never saw him in any kind of weakened condition.

PILGRIM: All right, Brian -- Brian Oxman, thank you very much for joining us in this very stressful time for you. Very much appreciated.

OXMAN: I appreciate it and I thank you so much. I just had tears and Michael Jackson is my friend and I'm -- I am just heartbroken.

PILGRIM: All right -- thank you very much, Brian Oxman. Let's turn now to the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles where Jackson was taken. And Ted Rowlands is there with the very latest. Ted, what, if anything, is the hospital saying about Michael Jackson? TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nothing yet, Kitty. We are waiting for an official update from hospital spokespeople. And as you can see behind me, there is a huge crowd of international, national, and local media already camped out -- outside the hospital and the crowd has been gathering. A lot of members of the public are making their way down here to the UCLA Medical Center, where as you just heard Brian Oxman say, the family has gathered as well.

And what Brian Oxman, the family attorney for the Jackson's just described is really staggering -- the news that, in his opinion, that Michael Jackson may have had issues with prescription drugs. This of course has been something that had been rumored for years, stretching back to when he was in Santa Maria in that child molestation case.

I was in the courtroom every day in that case and I can remember vividly some of the days him walking in, in a bit of a trance and the day where he walked in with the pajama bottoms, of course, started a lot of speculation. So whether or not Brian Oxman is completely knowledgeable about what's going on, one would think that he did have some knowledge, extraordinary information you just got from that last interview, Kitty.

But the information is the one -- the information we're waiting on is -- and that is the official condition of Michael Jackson, is something that we are still waiting on here at the UCLA Medical Center. Still no word -- no official word from the hospital yet. Of course, the "LA Times" and others reporting that Michael Jackson is dead.

PILGRIM: Ted, what's the scene like there? Is there a gathering crowd?

ROWLANDS: Absolutely. It's been gathering over the last few hours and as you can see behind me, there's a huge crowd of people. A lot of the folks that you see back there are members of the media from around the world. They have outlets here in Los Angeles, of course, and they have all gathered here.

But then, also, there are students and members of the UCLA faculty out here and then members of the public have also started gathering here and that crowd has been gathering steadily over the last hour or so and most likely will continue to grow as people wait word -- official word as to the fate of Mr. Jackson, who is inside this facility, but again, we have not heard, officially, from anybody inside, whether or not he is dead. The "LA Times" and others reporting he is, but officially that has not been reported and interesting that Brian Oxman, his attorney, the Jackson family attorney, who says he is in that building also says that he has not heard definitively the fate of Michael Jackson.

PILGRIM: Thank you very much, Ted Rowlands -- thanks, Ted. Well joining me now in the studio is David Caplan, "Entertainment Tonight" editor at "People" magazine. And David, thanks for being with us. You've just heard a range of on the scene reporting. What is your assessment of what you've heard so far? DAVID CAPLAN, ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR, PEOPLE MAGAZINE: I mean clearly, this was a complete shock that Michael Jackson, with these reports that he's passed because in recent months, there's been such a buildup to his concert and more so, there was a lot of rehashing of these past reports about his health. A couple years ago, a biography claimed that he suffered from everything from emphysema to lung problems to internal bleeding.

And this -- I don't know if the word is ironic -- that almost seems distasteful, but it's incredible that within a few weeks these concerts were to start and then this happened -- completely a surprise. And there have been no new rumors of ill health as well.

PILGRIM: Well you know when this concert was postponed, certainly there must have been some discussion of why.

CAPLAN: Oh, absolutely and that's really when there was a lot more you know rumor mongering as well. A lot of people thought his health took a turn for a worse, but again you know reps for Michael said that everything was fine. His health wasn't getting worse, so that's why this is just a complete surprise, at least on the surface. But we may find you know in the coming days that there was a little bit more going on.

PILGRIM: You know, we see him in two modes sometimes, as an outside observer to this man and his career. Sometimes he's an incredibly high-energy person, almost charged with energy, and at other times, he has the appearance of fragility, basically. How do you reconcile these two different types of person and do you think that in the -- which was the real Michael Jackson? The one that was charged with energy or the one that was really fragile?

CAPLAN: And I think with Michael Jackson, you're right, there was a sort of dichotomy with him. There was this high energy, dancing on stage, you know going all over the world. He loved -- he was passionate about his art. But at the same time, we saw someone who was a bit of a recluse, walking around Vegas with you know veils over his head and stuff like that.

And I really don't think that you could really pin one or the other on him. I don't think you could say oh, Michael Jackson, he was always full of energy, or Michael Jackson, the recluse. That's what made Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson, that he really straddled both worlds -- that when he was the show man -- when he was on, he was on. But when he wanted his downtime, so to speak, he really knew how to take advantage of that by remaining low key.

PILGRIM: Talk to us a little bit about his career. I mean he's had an incredible bursts (ph) of career. He has an iconic personal style. You know his prodigious talent, singing, dancing, choreography. I mean he is a major talent. Tell -- take us a little bit through his career in recent years because it has had some upsets and it has had some high points.

CAPLAN: Yeah, absolutely. You know in recent years he was a little bit lower profile. What made him so iconic really was what he did essentially in the mid to late '80s. You know after sort of "The Jackson Five", he did "Off the Wall", then "Thriller" was really where I think he reached that iconic status -- is where it really kicked off, and you know you even acknowledged sort of these fashion statements and stuff.

Remember everything like the glitter glove, the red leather jacket with black leather. Those were the things that really made him iconic. In recent years, we definitely saw him recording less. There were no new songs. But he still was (ph) able to stay relevant and that's so amazing for a performer to be able to do. He stayed relevant in past years by really remaining sort of part of our pop culture.

Sometimes not necessarily on his own terms, whether it was those sort of child cases, but he still was getting out there and then in recent years, there was so much more buzz about him doing this huge concert series, which was about to happen, and that was his attempt to say, hey, I'm still relevant. And his fans were just you know eating it up. But it is interesting that he didn't release that you know many albums in recent years because he was reveling. He was almost like a nostalgic singer.

PILGRIM: He -- he certainly has such great appeal, and even now as we're playing clips, everyone is saying, oh, I loved that, I loved that. It certainly is -- he certainly has staying power as an artist, doesn't he?

CAPLAN: Oh absolutely staying power. And keep in mind that the people today who love Michael Jackson, they may not have even been born when "Thriller" was around or they were small, so it is incredible -- it was a huge testament to his staying power and his relevance as a singer, musician.

PILGRIM: David, thank you very much for explaining it to us to tonight...

CAPLAN: Thank you.

PILGRIM: ... David Caplan, "Entertainment Tonight". And joining us now is Dax Holt, a news producer from the Web site and TMZ, very first to report that Jackson died -- Dax, tell us what you're hearing.

DAX HOLT, NEWS PRODUCER, TMZ.COM: Well I mean this day had been complete chaos here, you know just -- We got multiple sources that have confirmed to us that he had died. What we had heard was that the ambulance went up to his Beverly Hills home, got there, he did not have a pulse. They tried to resuscitate him. They took him by ambulance down to UCLA Medical Center, giving him CPR, and was not able to get that pulse back.

Since then, people and crowds are showing up to the Medical Center. The lawns are filled with fans, people just wanting to see -- tour buses now are driving past the area. And I just pictured tonight being a memorial for him, people getting out their candles and being there. And you know, it's interesting that two days ago, people were saying how bizarre he was, and now, you know, that he has passed away, everyone says what an amazing person he is.

And I think that's -- I think that's how someone should be remembered, you know as the performer, the dancer, the singer that everyone grew up loving, you know, and I think stress was a big part of this. He's constantly being sued. He's had a lot of money troubles over the last couple of months, losing Neverland Ranch. And now knowing he's got a huge tour in London to make $50 million to kind of get his life back on track, I think it was too much for him. He's not a big man. He was getting down to 100 pounds. And so it's too much on a heart.

PILGRIM: You're obviously deeply sourced in the entertainment community. What are you hearing -- you just touched on it -- about his physical condition? I mean 100 pounds is certainly a frightening number. What are you hearing?

HOLT: Well, yeah, I mean over the last couple of weeks, there's been so many rumors flying around about him having skin cancer and having to go -- and that's why he would do these weekly trips to the medical center out here and he would cover himself with the mask and the veils and dive in and out of the car. But other than that, we knew that he wasn't going to make a full set in London. That's why he was having people come in and train him to get him back into physical condition to make it through. It's just too much on him all at the same time and you know it's proven fatal.

PILGRIM: Tell me about the training. What were you hearing about what he was attempting to do?

HOLT: Well, we heard his body just couldn't make it like an entire concert night, so they were bringing in people. I heard that there were rumors of Lou Ferrigno, the actor coming to help train him. I'm not sure why Lou Ferrigno would be in the scene, but he's one of the names that has been brought up, just to get him you know into physical condition.

Other than that, we have just seen him day in and day out going into that medical facility and paparazzi hounding him for pictures. Right now I'm worried about his kids. He's got three small children that I have no idea where they're at. I don't know if they're at the hospital, at home, if they were there during this incident.

PILGRIM: Tell me a little bit about the relationship he had with his family at this point.

HOLT: Well, I know it's always been a strange relationship between him and his father and I've heard rumors that there's been a new reality show that the father and the brothers were embarking on and they had asked Michael and he said, no, he didn't want to be a part of it. Over the last couple of weeks as well, you know there was supposed to be a family tour with the brothers, Michael and Janet and they were going to go on tour and make a huge bank account full of cash for this. And you know, he signed on to do London and it kind of messed up the whole deal. So I know his family wasn't exactly happy with him at that moment.

PILGRIM: All right. Thank you very much, Dax Holt of TMZ. Thanks for your insight into this.

HOLT: Thank you.

PILGRIM: Let's bring in A.J. Hammer. He's the host of HLN's "Showbiz Tonight" for more. And A.J., I understand you have new information. What was Michael Jackson doing in Los Angeles before he was taken to the hospital? What new information do you have for us?

HAMMER: Well, we do know that he's been in Los Angeles, preparing to undertake this major concert event that he was scheduled to perform in London...

PILGRIM: I have to stop you for a second, A.J.

HAMMER: Go ahead.

PILGRIM: CNN can now confirm from the L.A. coroner that Michael Jackson is dead. So again CNN is confirming from the L.A. coroner that Michael Jackson is dead. A.J., I'm sorry I interrupted. Go ahead.

HAMMER: That's OK. Actually, Kitty, let me just skip ahead to a statement that we're just now seeing from Michael Levine. Michael Levine was Michael Jackson's publicist and spokesperson during his first molestation innocent. And this statement coming in -- Mr. Levine and I'm reading this from my computer.

You'll have to pardon me. He says "as someone who served as Michael Jackson's publicist during the first child molestation incident, I must confess, I am not surprised by today's tragic news. Michael has been on an impossibly difficult and often self-destructive journey for years. His talent was unquestionable but so too was his discomfort with the norms of the world. A human simply cannot withstand this level of stress."

Again, that is from Michael Levine, a former Michael Jackson publicist and spokesperson who is said to be holding a press conference about two hours from now in Beverly Hills.

PILGRIM: All right, A.J., thanks very much. Jim Moret is our chief correspondent for "Inside Edition." He's in Los Angeles right now. And Jim, what are your sources telling you about Jackson at this point?

JIM MORET, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, INSIDE EDITION: Pretty much what you've been hearing, that we at -- CBS News is reporting that Michael Jackson passed away as well. I think the most telling thing that I've heard, frankly, in the last hour was the interview you just had with Brian Oxman, the Jackson family attorney. He likened Jackson's situation to Anna Nicole Smith and said that there were enablers around him.

Now, those of us who covered the criminal trial up in Santa Barbara County saw Michael Jackson and would describe him as frail. He looked very weak. He looked very, very slim, like you could almost blow him over. And he had a number of health problems that caused delays in the trial. So to hear that he was going to the hospital today, frankly, was not a tremendous shock.

I was shocked at all of the people who believed that there would be this massive comeback tour, because Michael Jackson has announced such tours in the not-so-recent past and they've been canceled. But Oxman's calling this an enabling situation where he was on a lot of drugs, while not surprising, is still stunning in light of the fact that we're now hearing that he's passed away.

PILGRIM: Now Jim, in that regard, certainly, the rumor mill has been going, but is this the first time that you're hearing this publicly?

MORET: It's not the first time that I'm hearing that Michael Jackson had a problem with medication. He was on medication during the trial and much of it was, as far as we knew, was prescribed. But, you know, there's a -- there are two sides to Michael Jackson. There's this tremendous artist, who sold more albums, more single albums with the album "Thriller" from 1982 than any other artist in history.

And then there's this horribly tragic public side with the various allegations and lawsuits that were settled, regarding allegations of molestation of children, sleeping with children. He was a very gifted performer and apparently a very troubled soul.

PILGRIM: All right, thank you very much, Jim Moret, who has considerable experience in covering the career and life of Michael Jackson. Let's turn again to the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, where Jackson was taken. Now Ted CNN has confirmed that Jackson has died. What are you hearing -- what details?

ROWLANDS: Well, one other thing that we can add, Kitty, and this also came from Brian Oxman, the family attorney, a few hours ago on the phone. He said that Michael Jackson collapsed at his west side home here, which is about five minutes from the UCLA Medical Center. It wasn't a situation where he was found or he was asleep and they couldn't wake him up.

That the situation was according to Oxman that he actually collapsed in his house and at that point 911 was called and the ambulance came here to -- with Jackson here to the UCLA Medical Center. One interesting thing, what you were asking Jim Moret is this the first public comment, referring to the interview that you just did with Brian Oxman, which was extraordinary, Jim sort of alluded to one of the things that what is extraordinary is Jackson's camp has always been very loyal and that whenever anything came up in terms of Michael Jackson's health, the line was always that no, no, no, the rumors are false.

He's in perfect health. He's in perfect health. What Brian Oxman, during your interview with him just a few moments ago alluded to was a much different scenario than what has publicly been acknowledged by the people around Michael Jackson and it will be very interesting to see from this point on, starting right now, because of the probable anger that a lot of people are going to have that maybe like Oxman alluded to saw this coming are going to push. And very telling bit of information in terms of where Michael Jackson was in his life. The public was led to believe he was in a good spot, trying to train, if you will, get in physical condition for this upcoming concert series. He had relocated back here in May to Los Angeles and the media was being told and then fans were being told he's right. He's there. He's going -- he's in great shape and very excited. So a much different story, the interview you just had with Brian Oxman as to what possibly was going on inside that house here in L.A. and in Michael Jackson's life.

PILGRIM: Ted, you know, certainly when the concert tour was postponed, you must have had some discussions. Tell us a little bit about what was being said at that time?

ROWLANDS: Well, as you can imagine, as soon as Michael Jackson first announced the concert, there was a bit of speculation, could he pull this off? And then when it was announced it was going to be delayed, obviously, everyone thought, immediately, a-ha, he is no condition to pull this off because of all of the rumors.

But quickly, the people around him denounced those rumors and said, no, he's in great shape. He just wants it to be perfect because Michael is a perfectionist, and he is.

When you talk about the stress leading up to this, if he indeed was the perfectionist that many around him say he was, it must have been extraordinarily stressful trying to prepare for this massive comeback after being out of the limelight in terms of performing for so long.

So when it was announced, that there was a delay, that brought up all of those rumors and now, because of that interview you just did with Brian Oxman, it seems as though some of those rumors may indeed have been true in terms of possible prescription medication problem.

PILGRIM: Thanks very much, Ted Rowlands.

CNN has confirmed that Michael Jackson is dead.

Joining us now on the phone is the L.A. Coroner, Fred Corral. Fred, please tell us you what you know.

FRED CORRAL, L.A. CORONER: Hi, my name is Lieutenant Corral with the Coroner's Investigations Division. I can tell you at this time that we were notified by LAPD West L.A. detectives that Mr. Jackson was transported from his residents by paramedics to the hospital -- the hospital being the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center -- and upon admitting, he was unresponsive and was pronounced dead at approximately 2:26 this afternoon.

PILGRIM: What can you tell us about the circumstances surrounding his death, sir?

CORRAL: At this point, all I can tell you is what I just told you. Everything is still ongoing. We have no respondent in the hospital -- we will be responding to the hospital to bring Mr. Jackson into our facility where he will be examined to determine the cause of death.

PILGRIM: What is the next step here?

CORRAL: As I said, there will be an examination done to determine exactly what Mr. Jackson died from. At that point, once everything is completed, we will then issue the cause of death. Until then, there's nothing more I can give you at this point.

PILGRIM: I just have to go back to, what was the -- take us through the sequence of events, when he was first -- authorities were first notified about his distress.

CORRAL: As far as I'm aware, we were notified by LAPD detectives that Mr. Jackson was brought in by paramedics to the hospital in full cardiac arrest and then he was later pronounced dead. At that point, as I said, there's no further medical history until we get there and we review the medical records. We will explain this to our coroner investigator and at that point we will then prepare a report and then it will be sent to our deputy medical examiner, where the examination will take place the following day.

PILGRIM: When will an autopsy be done on Mr. Jackson?

CORRAL: More than likely, possibly, tomorrow.

PILGRIM: All right. Can you take us through procedure? What generally happens at this point?

CORRAL: Well, as I said, once the -- at this point, again, once he's brought in to the facility, we will go ahead and process him. At that point, he will then -- the case will be assigned to a coroner investigator. The investigator will prepare a written report.

There will be a physical examination done -- exterior examination done by the investigator and then at that point the report will be submitted by our deputy medical examiner, where the following morning there will be an examination done. At that point, that will consist of an exactual (ph) autopsy and during that procedure, we will then go ahead, the doctor will have any findings, he'll examine his organs to make sure if there was any deformity, see if there were any illnesses, take toxicology, blood samples, urine samples. And at that point, once everything is completed, he will then be ready to be released to the mortuary. (INAUDIBLE)

PILGRIM: So as soon as we could hear results would be when?

CORRAL: Probably by tomorrow afternoon.

PILGRIM: Thank you very much, sir. Thanks for joining us to give us the...


CORRAL: Thank you very much. Bye.

PILGRIM: We understand that Reverend Al Sharpton is speaking. Let's listen in to his comments.

REV. AL SHARPTON, ACTIVIST: We talked about how many people had let him down, but I told him it didn't matter, he had never let the fans down.

I remember introducing him at James Brown's funeral. James Brown was like a father to me and was Michael's idol. I will never forget him calling me saying he wanted to view James' body in the middle of the night. And I arranged for him to go to the funeral home in Augusta and view his body and convinced him to stay. And he spoke at the last funeral of James Brown, his idol, that we often talked about.

In fact, my favorite picture I kept was way before the Victory Tour with Michael, James Brown, Janet and I. We all were much younger then, in California about 1980.

And we went back, about 35 years. We marched together, we fought together, I watched him do shows. I went -- I headed community affairs for his Victory Tour. I watched him sell stadiums out.

Michael Jackson made culture accept a person of color way before Tiger Woods, way before Oprah Winfrey, way before Barack Obama. Michael did with music what they never did in sports and in politics and in television. And no controversy will erase the historic impact.

He learned how to sing and dance, pass unfair criticism. He learned how to sing and dance and be creative against his worst critics. He learned how to create even beyond his own shortcomings. He knew he had shortcomings, but he knew how to build his strength and use his strength to help people around the world.

"We are the World" would not have happened without Michael Jackson. From "We are the World" came "Live Aid" and other things.

Michael Jackson was a trail blazer. To say an icon would only give these young people in Harlem a fraction of what he was. He was a historic figure that people will measure music and the industry by. He sold more single products than any other artist and no one could drag him down from that.

I remember he once said to me, can you believe after his trial, he said to me, "They were actually showing on television the cell they wanted to put me in." I said, "Well, they didn't crown you the king and they can't take the crown off your head."

Finally, I hope Michael will get the respect he was due. If he had shortcomings, they didn't equal his strengths. And if he brought days that we all hoped were days that would never come again, they didn't measure up to the most many days, the more days that he gave us of joy and pleasure. And he never forgot coming back to the Apollo and coming back to the people.

I do not know what the family's intentions are yet. I certainly will be in touch, but whatever their intentions, I remember when we suddenly, without warning, lost James Brown. I brought him back to the Apollo. I don't know if his family will send Michael back, but we will memorialize him here and I will be wherever he is to thank Michael Jackson for never forgetting with us; the fans that were with him from Gary, Indiana, that knew him before the world knew him.

And when the world learned of him, he never let the world forget us. He never stopped paying tribute to Jackie Wilson and Diana Ross and James Brown and the people that came out of the Apollo. He never stopped and we should never stop talking about Michael Jackson.

PILGRIM: We are listening to Reverend Al Sharpton outside the Apollo Theater in Harlem. Michael Jackson did play in the Apollo Theater in the early '60s. And so this is suitable venue for Rev. Al Sharpton to be speaking from.

Joining me now for more on Jackson and his career, we have our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin. We have Alan Light, who is a music journalist and former editor-in-chief of "Spin" magazine and "Tracks" magazine. And we're also joined by Anthony Decurtis, contributing editor at "Rolling Stones" and a preeminent music historian.

Gentleman, thank you very much for joining us.

A sad day -- Michael Jackson has passed away. We just confirmed this.

Jeffrey, he had a tough life, in all respects; a lovely career, but some very deep low points. You covered the trial in Los Angeles. Tell us a little about that.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: He was a deeply troubled person, and he was surrounded, if I may say, by some of the most awful people I have ever encountered: liars, blood suckers, people who really lived off him. Anything you were told by the so-called Jackson camp usually turned out to be false.

And the case was a child molestation case -- and for all that Michael Jackson had this brilliant career, which he certainly did -- this was someone who had an unhealthy relationship with young boys. Now, he was acquitted in this case, but the testimony was awful in that case. This is someone who also settled for eight figures a different child molestation case.

So as much as his genius, his humanitarian nature is part of his legacy, so is this really unhealthy relationship with young boys.

PILGRIM: That is a very fair point.

Alan, you know, his career was brilliant, but yet in recent years, he has been very much colored by this controversy.

ALAN LIGHT, MUSIC JOURNALIST: Well, I think this dual nature that everybody talks about is inextricably part of the Michael Jackson story. This is somebody who was never allowed to be a normal human being. He was on stage from the age of 6 years old. When he was 10 and 11 he released four straight number one singles. And obviously this idealization or vision of having an actual childhood and being able to be a real person so pervaded for better and for worse the rest of his life.

That was part of the joy, the innocence, exultation that he was able to reach on stage. It was also always the question and mystery that surrounded him the rest of the time.

I think what was so difficult the last few years, when you said Michael Jackson, about the tenth thing you would think of is, he's a brilliant singer. You would think of the controversies and the scandals and the lawsuits and the rumors. And oh, by the way, he's one of the most talented entertainers that any of us will ever see; that kept getting pushed further and further down.

PILGRIM: He certainly did have his share of legal troubles, financial troubles, and even his career actually took a bit of a hiatus.

Anthony, you're a music historian, tell us what you think about the sweep of this man's career.

ANTHONY DECURTIS, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, "ROLLING STONE": Well, the story, once again, as Alan pointed out, that has really been buried by the all the scandals and the terrible aspects of what his personal life was, was the previous tragedy of Michael Jackson's career was his desperate attempt to re-achieve what he had achieved with "Thriller." That became a kind of obsession and nobody gets that twice. You don't get that level of fame twice.

But in album after album, he attempted to recreate it. It was almost as if there was no level of attention, fame, acclaim, that could satisfy some kind of void that was in him.

He was a strange figure, as was pointed out. When he was very young, he almost seemed like he was an adult, and then when he became an adult, he had this kind of odd, child-like existence.

PILGRIM: That's a extraordinary way to sum that up, Jeff.

TOOBIN: Kitty, the irony is that the financial success he had later in life was not due to Michael Jackson. It was due to the fact that he owned -- he bought in a very clever investment half of the Beatles album, half of the Beatles song writing interests, Lennon and McCartney. And that's where the money came for Neverland, much more than the Michael Jackson brand, which was very, very damaged at the end of play.

PILGRIM: And yet his ranch was in jeopardy, no?

LIGHT: The ranch was in jeopardy. I think the other side of that is Michael Jackson was always so aware of being a global superstar. I think even after the blooms started to fall off some in the states, where we were always hearing the negative side, this was somebody who was Michael Jackson in every corner of the world. There was nowhere that he was -- I mean, this was the most famous man in the world, the way you talk about Muhammad Ali.

And as we saw, the response to the London show is that that fever was still there, that interest was still there. Even as it had fallen to our awareness, this was still a megastar.

PILGRIM: Let me turn to L.A. and our Larry King is joining us now. Larry, some thoughts on this.

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Look, Kitty, a few things regarding me and Michael Jackson. The first time I interviewed Michael Jackson, I guess he was 8 or 9 years old. The Jackson Five had just been blooming and I had them on my radio show. And I remembered him as an adorable little talent and he stole the show from the rest of the troop. It was Michael Jackson plus the Jackson Four or five, however you would term it.

Later on, I was going to testify in that trial that Jeffrey just spoke about. I had overheard a conversation at the Nathan House Restaurant (ph) here in Los Angeles, a lawyer telling stories about those accusing Michael. I was not allowed to testify because the judge deemed that it was hearsay, but I was up there at the time of that trial and was not permitted to testify; went just as a good citizen overhearing something that I heard.

And then in May of -- in November of 2007, there's these awards that Jesse Jackson gives out every year, and Michael and I both got an award at that dinner and there's some pictures around, I don't know if we'll show them. We might show them on our show later of me with him.

I found him an extraordinarily interesting person, to say the least. There's never been a Michael Jackson come our way, ups and down, faults and good. He is one of the -- as everyone has pointed out on your panel, an outstanding panel, there was -- we will never see his likes again.

It was hard to love him, but hard not to. I don't know how to express that any other way. You didn't want to embrace him, but on the other hand, you didn't want to pull away either.

By the way, Cher and Celine Dion are going to join us tonight. We're going to do two shows live tonight at 9:00 and midnight. And Smokey Robinson will be aboard and we'll have others too.

But I think this is an amazing historic story, an incredible day.

And then we think of Farrah Fawcett who dies the same day and who was expected to die and we were going to do a whole show on her. And I'm sure many of the shows on CNN were going to be devoted to her and this puts that story into the past.

PILGRIM: Yes, Larry, well, may she rest in peace.

Larry, I want to ask you, what was your impression the last time you saw Mr. Jackson? What was your general feeling of his well-being, I guess is the best way to put it? KING: Well, that was three years ago, at the table, we were at the same dinner table and we got the award with Jesse Jackson. He was everywhere. He was up and alive and alert. And another thing I know, which I don't think has been reported yet, but that London concert, which I think, gentlemen had been delayed a week, Elizabeth Taylor, who was one of the closest people in the world to him, was scheduled to fly out to attend the opening night of that concert, because I know a friend of mine was going to fly her out on his plane. And all that, of course, goes askew.

But the last time I saw him, Kitty, he looked fine, he was in a good mood, he was kidding and I would say he was well up and feeling good.

PILGRIM: Larry, you have deep roots in L.A. What was the general impression of how his career was going at this point? Because it certainly did take a dip after his legal problems, his financial problems, and he seemed to have some artistic struggling going on too. What was your impression of his career right at this moment?

KING: I think the music community here, Kitty, was rooting for him. I think there is an Act 2 and they wanted an Act 2 for Michael Jackson. They like to sometimes kick you when you're down and they love you when you come back up again. It's happened in so many careers.

I think people wanted him to do well. They bared him some ill feelings over charges, countercharges and things that have occurred in his life, but they wanted to see him come back. I think they wanted -- who wouldn't want him to be a success? Who wouldn't want to see what new music he produced? Who wouldn't want to seem him perform again? So I think this community is a sad place tonight.

PILGRIM: It certainly is.

What are you hearing from people in L.A. tonight, Larry?

KING: I'm hearing sadness and look at all those crowds gathered at UCLA hospital and people crying in the street and here in Hollywood where our studios are located. There's no way to describe it. This is a shock that bears with the great shocks we've suffered through over the past few years and into the '60s and '70s and '80s. Here comes another one.

It's almost like when you wake up in the morning, kitty, as you well know in this business, what's next? What's next? This is very sad.

PILGRIM: You know, from all accounts, where you live; Hollywood is a very fickle town. As Mr. Jackson was going through his legal troubles, did you get the impression that his fan base was still solid, or is there a sort of vacillation going with the fortunes of Michael Jackson?

KING: Vacillation's a good word, certainly based on the accusations you couldn't say. Boy, wow. I think a lot of people who cared for him hoped that they were untrue, hoped that he was a guy who just loved kids a lot, loved little boys, liked to play with them, he had Toy Land and there was nothing sexual about it. I think that's what they hoped.

I think most of the big, large middle looked at it with disdain, wondering, could he have done this, would he have -- why -- how did this happen to someone like that?

And of course, the other side, the last third, who was totally against him, didn't like him, wanted the stories, I think, to be true, wanted him to fail, and you'll always have that in this business.

When you're up, you're easy pickings. And of now, I don't think we will ever know. There'll be lots -- I fear what's coming now. Stories about what Michael Jackson did to me, my arrangement with Michael Jackson. Tabloids next week are going to be horror stories.

In this realm of a little calmness, let us miss what was his talent. What he gave us was his talent. Since that's all we know to be proof, let's look at that. He gave us his talent. We sure like that.

PILGRIM: May he rest in piece. Thank you very much, Larry.

KING: Thank you, Kitty.

PILGRIM: We will join you at 9:00. We look forward to your broadcast.

Let's listen to a little of "We are the World" that was written in 1985 by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie.




PILGRIM: We're back with Alan Light and Anthony Decurtis.

Alan, we just heard an excerpt from "We are the World." it was an absolute movement at the time; a social movement, in fact. Tell us a little about that.

LIGHT: I think, Michael Jackson in so many ways redefined what a superstar was, what that meant in terms of conquering all media at all times. This was after "Thriller." This was sort of in the immediate still the glow of "Thriller" when Michael Jackson was far and away the biggest star in the world and still had a close relationship with Quincy Jones.

The combined power of those two that were able to bring everybody together, were able to initiate this movement, to raise money as somebody pointed out before that led to Live Aid, that really led to this notion of big superstar activity to draw attention to a cause like famine in Africa. He was in a position to do that. There are so few people who could be as magnetic as that, who could have that moment and then utilize it to execute something of that scale.

PILGRIM: Let me bring in our correspondent, Jessica Yellin right now. Jessica covered the trial extensively and has done quite a bit of reporting about Michael Jackson.

Jessica what are your thoughts this evening?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, it's enormously sad. I think about -- I remember when I met Michael Jackson and how unbelievably fragile he was and the sense of peace there was around him. An aura of sadness that you got that was so strikingly different from what you saw on stage.

He was unbelievable thin, thin boned. His skin was almost papery. He was wearing thick, thick makeup, the kind of makeup, I'm told, burn-victims wear. He had these soft eyes that made you and this whispery voice that made you feel a sense of protectiveness to him that was in such stark contrast to the horrible things that were said about what he had allegedly may or may not have done to various kids in the trials I was covering.

And just felt this sense that this person was a true victim of a life that's so different from anything any other person on earth could possibly have known. He really lived in a bubble.

PILGRIM: Anthony, what are your thoughts on his ability to connect with people because certainly despite this bubble he has this enormous connection with everyone that ever heard him?

DECURTIS: Well, it's almost hard to remember now, but for a long time, Michael Jackson was everybody's little brother. You know, he was the great kid. He was this astounding performer. As Larry King was saying, you know, just a total charmer. Just talented beyond anything that people could have expected.

And then, of course, he became this great young man. You know, even before "Thriller" with an album like "off the wall." there was this young adult Michael, handsome, sexy, exciting. There was this tremendous charisma around him and his work.

Those songs -- I mean, through all of this, you know, you go into a club or go somewhere where they play music; you always hear Michael Jackson songs. Still.

PILGRIM: And everyone up on their feet the minute they...

DECURTIS: Yes. Exactly. So that level of talent was just undeniable. It seemed, for a long time, to be a reflection of who he was.

But there was a -- there was a tipping point. There almost seemed a kind of willfulness on Michael, the same time as this desperate desire to re-attain this level of fame. There almost seemed to be a way of just putting people off and just how far can I go until nobody can get with me anymore? You know, this level of weirdness where finally you're just looking at him and thinking I can't recognize a person there.

LIGHT: Another thing that's fascinating is that when he -- when you talk about "Thriller" and the phenomenon of "Thriller" it was almost that he had grown to this place where this other edge was coming out. You were starting to hear these more adult concerns. There was this kind of paranoid edge in a song like "Billy Jean" or this little bit of dealing with violence in "Beat It."

He had moved to a place that was kind of embracing sides of him that you hadn't seen before. He wasn't that kid anymore. That's when it just exploded to every kid in the world. That was when he was the biggest R&B star, the biggest rock star, the biggest video star. There was another layer of him that came out.

PILGRIM: Jim Moret joins us from L.A. again. Jim, some thoughts on what we're saying. The sort of megastar that we saw and, yet, this recluse; Jim what do you think?

JIM MORET, CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": These observations, I think, are spot on. Those of us who covered the criminal case and yet also admire the artistry that was Michael Jackson were torn by these two different people that we'd see.

This frail, bizarre person that would walk into court, often shuffle into court, frankly, because he appeared to be in such distress with his back pain. He appeared sometimes to be medicated.

Often while covering this case for the four months of the trial, I would listen on my way from the hotel to the courthouse to some of his music. And it's truly astounding the level of success he achieved.

You talked about the albums: you have "Off the Wall," "Thriller," "Bad," "Dangerous" and then "History" came out in '95. If you look at Michael Jackson's occupation, look him up online, it says singer/songwriter, record producer, arranger, dancer, choreographer, author, businessman, financier.

He really was at the top of all of these levels and yet we saw him tumble and when he tried to achieve some of the greatness that he had earlier, the music business is different today than it was when "Thriller" came out. I don't know that you could duplicate it. To call his following attempts failures, by any other measure they would be tremendous successes but not to him. I think that's part of the tragedy of Michael Jackson.

PILGRIM: You have the sense that he was constantly trying to invent himself from moment to moment. He also lived this incredibly fantastic life: the Neverland ranch; the sort of aura of unworldliness that he created for himself.

Anthony, tell us a little bit about that. That is not so atypical of someone in his position, is it? DECURTIS: I think, you know, if at the age of -- when you're not even in double digits as a child and you're already, you know, a superstar and the supporter of your family and all those things, it's as if given a world in which you can realize all those kind of childlike fantasies. You know, I want to own a big ranch with llamas and giraffes and all this business. Michael Jackson I don't think saw the distinction between those worlds. I think that just became a reality for him.

PILGRIM: We're joined by Jessica Yellin. Jessica, thoughts on Neverland; you have extensive knowledge of it.

YELLIN: Before the trial I covered the police showed a video of the rooms inside. It was remarkable. There was a room that was almost entirely statuette -- life size statues of superhero figures like Batman and Spider-man. Another room that was huge, golden candelabras that looked like something out of a haunted house. Another room that was all very feminine dolls with doll carriages.

And just chock (ph) of block, everywhere you looked with stuff that's out of a child's imagination. This is the space he lived in. It just gave you a window into how different his experience was from anyone else on this planet -- really remarkable.

PILGRIM: Alan, thoughts on this?

LIGHT: I think, again, you can see that there was this heightened -- this idealized vision of childhood because he never had a childhood. He never was not on stage; he never was not in the spotlight. Whatever it meant to him, it was something that he was making up in his brain and that was, you know, reaching its manifestation in Neverland.

I thought it was very telling. Larry King mentioned Elizabeth Taylor. The fact he surrounded himself with Elizabeth Taylor, Macauley Culkin, Brooke Shields -- all former child stars, like the only people who could really begin to appreciate what his life had been were people who, you know, as preadolescents, were on magazine covers and were celebrities. That was the only way possibly into his world.

PILGRIM: Fascinating stuff. Alan Light, Anthony Decurtis, Jessica Yellin joins us. Thank you very much.

Here is another look at Michael Jackson and his famous moon walk.


(Michael Jackson dancing the moonwalk.)

PILGRIM: CNN continues its coverage of the death of Michael Jackson. Now we're joined by Anderson Cooper and Campbell Brown.