Born in 1958, Michael Jackson became an iconic performer even when he was still a child. By the time he died in 2009, Jackson has been christened as the King of Pop. He is considered to be a truly significant cultural figures of the 20th century. In addition, Michael Jackson is ranked as one of the greatest entertainers in the history of music. 

Sadly, there was something of a dark undercurrent stripping through the latter years of Jackson’s life. These included some grim realities that contributed to the death of the King of Pop. 

The Day the Music Died

The phrase “the day the music died” originally was attributed to the plane crash in an Iowa field that took the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchey Valens, and The Big Bopper (J.P. Richardson). The pilot of the plane was also killed. With that duly noted, for many people the world over, June 25, 2009, fairly is also called “the day the music died,” because it is the date that Michael Jackson passed away. 

The Leadup To the Day Michael Jackson Died

For a considerable period of time prior to his untimely death from a drug overdose, Michael Jackson was experiencing a variety of unpleasant experiences in his life. These included everything from health issues to financial problems to being prosecuted for child molestation (he was found not guilty in the criminal proceedings). 

According to people around Jackson, he turned to the use of mind-altering substances as a means of “dealing with” the myriad of “challenges” that he faced. Prior to the time of Jackson’s fatal overdose and death, he’s been using a long list of different drugs. Generally speaking, these drugs were prescribed en masse by a physician named Conrad Murray. Murray had become Jackson’s “private personal doctor” in the weeks and months leading up to the singer’s death.

Among the drugs that Jackson is said to have used in the time before his passing was fentanyl. Unlike many people today, while Jackson was said to be using fentanyl, this opioid was not the drug immediately responsible for his death.

Like many people, fentanyl was far from being the only potentially dangerous taken by Jackson. Indeed, an incredible proverbial cornucopia of drugs was discovered in Jackson’s body during postmortem procedures.

The Drug Cocktails That Dominated the Final Days of Jackson’s Life

As discussed a moment ago, unlike many people who’ve died by way of a drug overdose since the death of Jackson, fentanyl was not the drug directly responsible for Jackson’s death. As will be discussed more fully in a moment, a medication called propofol, sold under the brand name Diprivan, was the immediate underlying cause of the singer’s death.

In addition to propofol found in Jackson’s system at the time of his death, other powerful and potentially dangerous drugs identified by the coroner included:

  • Lorazepam
  • Midazolam
  • Diazepam
  • Lidocaine
  • Ephedrine

Propofol was the drug that resulted in Jackson’s death. Propofol is intended for use during surgery. Propofol is administered intravenously, either by a drip or injection. It is given to a surgical patient prior to the administration of an anesthetic. Propofol is used to ensure that patient remains anesthetized during surgery. 

Propofol is not intended as a “sleep aid.” That is the reason Jackson’s doctor indicated he prescribed the drug for the singer. In addition, a person administered propofol must be closely monitored, like in a hospital setting. 

Wider Use of Fentanyl Following Jackson’s Death

Michael Jackson’s death sharpened the focus on fatal overdoses on medications that do have a legitimate use. In this day and age, fentanyl really is at the head of the pack when it comes to drugs causing overdoses, including fatal ones. 

As is the case with propofol, legitimate medical uses exist for the use of fentanyl – provided the drug is being closely monitored. While people did turn to propofol as a drug to possibly provide relief from anxiety, Jackson’s death was a clarion call that turned many away from this medication. 

Another important difference between propofol and fentanyl is that propofol is now known to result in a “high” that people who abuse fentanyl experience. In addition, fentanyl is widely available on the illicit drug market. Fentanyl is illegally manufactured in the United States and is being relatively easily shipped in from other countries in large amounts. Illegally obtaining is far, far easier than is obtaining propofol.

Postscript Following Michael Jackson’s Death

Ultimately, Dr. Conrad Murray was prosecuted and convicted in the death of Michael Jackson. Specifically, Murray was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to a prison term of four years. He ended up serving two years behind bars. 

Murray lost his license to practice medicine. There have been reports that Murray has practiced medicine illegally since he lost his license. Murray denies the accusation.