Anesthetic Eyed as Jackson's Possible Killer - NBC Chicago

Anesthetic Eyed as Jackson's Possible Killer

Singer used knockout drug just to sleep, says nurse



    Anesthetic Eyed as Jackson's Possible Killer
    A nurse who was trying to help Michael Jackson prepare for his grueling comeback says the singer begged for a powerful anesthetic -- just to sleep.

    Michael Jackson had so much trouble sleeping that he may have turned to a powerful anesthetic just to get rest, according to a nurse who worked with the late singer during his final days and provided a glimpse of the deadly drug habit that may have killed the pop icon. 

    Toxicology reports are still weeks away from completion, but Cherilyn Lee, a registered nurse and nutritionist who was trying to get Jackson ready for his grueling comeback, said Jackson was so plagued by insomnia that he begged for Diprivan, a powerful sedative used to knock out patients before surgery. Lee recalled a frantic phone call from an unidentified Jackson handler that eerily foreshadowed his death just four days later.

    "He called and was very frantic and said, `Michael needs to see you right away.' I said, 'What's wrong?' And I could hear Michael in the background ..., 'One side of my body is hot, it's hot, and one side of my body is cold. It's very cold,'" Lee said.

    "At that point, I knew that somebody had given him something that hit the central nervous system," she said, adding, "He was in trouble Sunday and he was crying out.

    "I don't know what happened," continued Lee, 56. "The only thing I can say is he was adamant about this drug."

    Diprivan can only be administered through an IV.  The sedative is often administered as a cocktail in tandem with Lidocaine, a drug that was found near the singer’s body.  One side effect of Diprivan is cardiac arrest.

    The website TMZ reported that Propofol, the generic name of Diprivan, was found at Jackson’s rented mansion after his death. On Monday, investigators searched the home and left with two red bags full of medications, some of which had pseudonyms on prescription labels. The LA Times reports that medical equipment was also removed Monday from the Holmby Hills mansion. 

    Meanwhile, a will said to be Jackson's surfaced, setting the stage for a battle royale between Jackson's family and the two associates he named as his estate's executors in the 2002 document. The will names Jackson's 79-year-old mother Katherine as guardian of his children, a person with knowledge of the document told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

    The will names as executors Jackson's longtime lawyer John Branca and John McClain, a music executive and a family friend, said the AP's source. Lawyers for the Jackson family, which claims the singer left no valid will and seeks to have Katherine Jackson named executor, are reviewing the document. Experts said a 1999 bankruptcy in which the elder Jacksons listed nearly $24 million in debts could work against their efforts to seize control of the singer's estate, if it shows they have poor financial judgment.

    Putting a value on Michael Jackson's debt-ridden estate will be difficult. In the most detailed account yet of the singer's tangled financial empire, documents obtained by The Associated Press show Jackson claimed to have a net worth of $236.6 million as of March 31, 2007. Since that time both Jackson's debts and assets grew substantially — he refinanced loans later that year that increased his debt load by tens of millions of dollars.

    While the legal wrangling over the 50-year-old singer's estate continues, funeral arrangements still have not been made. California authorities are bracing for a massive event, possibly at Neverland, the ranch where Jackson lived for several years. But officials said Jackson's family had yet to reach out to them for assistance with any kind of memorial.

    Neverland is located in the rolling hills of central California's wine country, about 150 miles northwest of Los Angeles. A public funeral there on a busy holiday weekend could bring the rural area's roads to a standstill. At once a symbol of Jackson's success and excesses. He was 29 and at the height of his popularity when he bought the ranch, naming it after the mythical land of Peter Pan, where boys never grow up. There, he surrounded himself with animals, rides and children.

    Jackson fled the ranch after his acquittal on charges that he molested a 13-year-old cancer survivor in 2003 at the estate after getting him drunk. But the home has become the site of a makeshift memorial since Jackson's death last week. Scores of fans have streamed past the gated entrance to leave handwritten notes, photographs, balloons and flowers.

    "I Have Never Seen Michael Jackson Abuse Painkillers"

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    (Published Tuesday, March 4, 2014)