The trial of Michael Jackson's personal physician

Autopsy Shows Jacko Was Healthy: Report

By Jonathan Lloyd
|  Thursday, Sep 8, 2011  |  Updated 12:47 PM PDT
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Life and Times: Michael Jackson

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The LA County coroner releases its official cause of death in the Jackson case.

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An autopsy report obtained by The Associated Press shows Michael Jackson's arms were covered with punctures, his face and neck were scarred and he had tattooed eyebrows and lips.

But overall he was a fairly healthy 50-year-old, according to the report.

Jackson's 136 pounds were in the acceptable range for a 5-foot-9 man. And his heart was strong.

There were some health issues, including arthritis in the lower spine and some fingers, and mild plaque buildup in his leg arteries. Most serious was his lungs, which the autopsy report said were chronically inflamed and had reduced capacity that might have left him short of breath.

"His overall health was fine," said Dr. Zeev Kain, chairman of the anesthesiology department at the University of California, Irvine, who reviewed a copy of the autopsy report for the AP. "The results are within normal limits."

Kain was not involved in the autopsy. The full autopsy report has not been released publicly, but the AP obtained a copy.

But the report said none of those health issues were life-threatening and that the pop star died from the potent anesthetic his personal physician gave him to sleep.

In August, the LA County coroner cited "acute propofol intoxication" as the official cause of Michael Jackson's death.

"The drugs propofol and lorazepam were found to be the primary drugs responsible for Mr. Jackson's death," according to a news release issued Friday morning from the coroner's office. "Other drugs detected were: Midazolam, Diazepam, Lidocaine and Ephedrine."

Jackson died June 25 after becoming unconscious at his Holmby Hills mansion.

The LAPD is investigating Jackson's death as a homicide, but no charges have been filed. Dr. Conrad Murray, Jackson's personal physician, told police he gave Jackson propofol the morning of June 25 after a series of sedatives failed to help Jackson sleep.

Murray is the target of what Los Angeles police term a manslaughter investigation. The decision on criminal charges will
 come from the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. Murray has been interviewed twice by police.

The autopsy findings cut off a potential defense for Murray -- that Jackson hid serious pre-existing conditions that increased the risk of death from the drugs he willingly took. Even if he did hide a condition such as his weakened lungs, a prosecutor could argue Murray should have detected the condition before administering drugs, said Michael Brennan, a clinical law professor at the University of Southern California who specializes in criminal defense.

Other Findings in the Autopsy: Scars, Punctures, Tattoos

Kain said several of the scars mentioned in the report appeared to be from plastic surgery or a medical procedure.

A scar was found behind his left ear and another apparent scar behind his right ear. He had a scar beside each of his nostrils and another, 4-inch scar on his right shoulder. He had a pair of additional scars about 3-inches long at the base of his neck and smaller scars on his arms and wrist. He also had a small scar in the region of his naval and a 2-inch scar on the right-hand side of his abdomen.

The medical examiner found numerous punctures on both arms and on a knee and ankle. The leg punctures could have been from
 intravenous therapies not described in the autopsy report, Kain said.

Jackson had several tattoos, all them cosmetic, including dark tattoos in the areas of both eyebrows and under his eyes, and a pink tattoo around his lips.

He was going bald at the front of his head, with his remaining hair described as short and tightly curled. The bald part of his scalp was darkened with what appeared to be a tattoo stretching across the top of his head from ear to ear.

The coroner found depigmentation of his skin around his chest, abdomen, face and arms. The coroner also found Jackson was actively producing sperm.

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