tv State of the Union With John King CNN July 5, 2009 11:00pm-12:00am EDT
"american morning" will have the very latest on the situation in honduras. i'm don lemon. thanks for watching. "man in the mirror" starts right now. ♪ i'm talking with the man in the mirror ♪ ♪ i'm asking him to change his way ♪ >> michael jackson referred to himself in song as "the man in the mirror." just who was this superstar who left us with so many images over the years and what did he see when he looked at his reflection? ♪ where there is love i'll be there ♪ >> when i first saw him, i was
amazed at his talent. to be 10 years old. it was just incredible. >> from child prodigy to cultural icon. >> this man was the greatest recording artist of our time. this man through his music actually like made a change in the world. >> reporter: the king of pop. ♪ you're fighting for your life ♪ >> michael had an unseen magic to influence people. the music and the culture. the music would not be what it is without michael jackson. >> the soundtrack of a generation. ♪ billie jean is not my lover >> michael jackson doesn't just come along once in a century or a lifetime. he only comes along once. >> all silenced at age 50. >> my brother, the legendary
king of pop, michael jackson, passed away on thursday, june 25th, 2009, at 2:26 p.m. >> as his life was controversial -- >> he raised the bar for image makeovers to a point where no one else wants to even come close to it. >> so is his death. >> this is something which i feared and it is something which i warned about. where there is smoke, there is fire. this is a case of abuse of medications. >> reporter: millions in mourning. they are mourning in gary, indiana, too. michael's hometown. he was the seventh of nine children. flags at half staff. a memorial at his childhood home. his steelworker father, joe,
turned five of his boys into a band. with 5-year-old michael out front. one of the first venues, the auditorium of roosevelt high. here the jackson 5 won the talent contest and wowed the crowd. >> oh, it was just unbelievable because they were so young, but yet they were so talented. they performed as if they had been performing for years. he was so excited. >> reporter: from the high school auditorium to the big-time. media mogul suzanne de passe was there at the beginning. >> i was asked to come to see this group. >> reporter: de passe was just starting out at motown. working with founder berry gordy. >> i saw these kids, and they were unbelievable. i called mr. gordy and i said, i've just seen the most fantastic act. >> when she told me about another kids' group i said, wait a minute, i got all these other stars. >> i went back one more time. mustered up all my courage. and i said, mr. gordy, you just have to see these kids.
>> suzanne de passe insisted i meet with these kids and audition them. >> reporter: an audition seen in this video from a documentary produced by michael jackson. >> they were sensations. they were tremendous. the lead singer michael was just so incredible. and immediately i was up all night trying to think of the type of songs that would create excitement among people. >> reporter: motown gave the group a record deal. and the jacksons began their rocket rise to stardom. >> from the time that most kids were building tree houses, michael jackson was building an image. at the age of 10 he was told to say that he was 8. michael was happy to play along with that because he understood at a very early age that image-making and public relations was very important. >> reporter: it worked. the jackson 5 exploded on the charts. their first three singles, "i
want you back, " "abc," and "the love you save" all hit number one. >> the sound was incredible. the weight, gravity, the way he would sing, then he would dance. you know, and his brothers on stage with him. you couldn't stop them. >> reporter: but behind the image of a happy family and their rags to riches story, there was something else. incredibly hard work and a father who pushed his children. in 1993, jackson spoke about both in this interview with oprah winfrey. >> so he would tease you, make fun of you? >> yes. >> did he ever beat you? >> yes, he did. yes. >> and that was difficult to take, getting beaten and going on stage and performing. >> yes. >> and why would he beat you? >> because he saw me -- he wanted me -- i guess maybe i don't know if i was his golden child or whatever it was.
>> in a bbc interview joe jackson admitted whipping michael with a switch or a belt but denied ever beating him. beating, joe maintained, is something you do with a stick. success at such a cost left jackson with conflicted feelings for his father. >> on the one hand, he would always complain. my father didn't love me enough. i father made me into a performance machine, too strict, i would see kids on the monkey bars and i would cry because i couldn't have a childhood. >> the rabbi was a friend and spiritual adviser to michael jackson. >> look at the flip side of that. because of that you became a big performer and maybe even because you were not given enough love as a child you wanted the world's love so you worked hard and became a superstar. would you trade it in? interestingly he would say to me every time, no, i wouldn't do that. >> reporter: jackson and his
brothers would become preteen idols appearing in commercials and magazine covers. however, jackson's teenage years were awkward. he suffered from bad acne and was self-conscious of his appearance. >> he did say to me he was once on an airplane and his father said, you know, your nose isn't nice or something like that. generally, he expressed to me that he was made to feel that he was ugly. and sadly, he really internalized that message. >> reporter: by 1975, the jackson 5 had made a highly publicized split from motown. and michael jackson was ready to spread his wings. jackson would turn to quincy jones, then musical director for "the wiz." now a multigrammy winning producer, arranger, and composer. >> i said, you know what? i'd like to take a shot at producing your record. and we started going. started to get going. and the record company said, no, quincy's too jazzy, he's not the person to do this.
and so michael and his managers fought them and said, quincy's doing the record. >> reporter: legendary music producer quincy jones would produce jackson's first adult solo album. 1979ings, "off the wall." jishs the album was a smash with songs like "don't stop till you get enough" and "rock with you" reaching number one. ♪ don't stop till you get enough ♪ >> this is the greatest moment that disco had in its entire history. ♪ i'm going to rock with you all night ♪ >> they are songs that still hold up today. they don't sound dated. i guess what none of us could have anticipated was the album they would then produce after "off the wall." >> reporter: that album was 1982's "thriller." and it would catch fire when jackson unveiled an out of this world dance move on a television special for motown's 25th anniversary. >> what a moment that was in pop
culture history when he moonwalked across the stage there. >> so he's doing the moonwalk. which when he first did it nationally, it was like, wait, is gravity being like messed with here? special effects? like what are we doing? i mean, within six months, every 10-year-old in dallas could do it. >> reporter: the transformation was complete. michael jackson was about to go from child pop star to the biggest star on the planet. when we continue, chimps, oxygen chambers, the elephant man's bones. michael jackson's bizarre behavior.
>> the record flew out of stores. it could not be stopped. >> from the iconic look to the moonwalk to the glove, the red jacket, the zippers and glasses and the white socks. >> reporter: r&b superstar usher. >> if it wasn't music, it was obviously dance that influenced us. ♪ beat it, beat it >> reporter: saying "beat it" to the competition, for 37 weeks the album sat at number one and is, to this day, the top-selling album in the world. "thriller" broke records with seven top ten singles and it also broke barriers. >> being the first black artist to ever have a video played on mtv was pivotal for all of us. there would be no other forum, honestly.
there would be no b.e.t. there wouldn't even be the mtv that is now without michael jackson's influence. >> and of course, it paid off for all of us. because i mean, the idea of mtv without michael jackson's videos from "thriller" is almost inconceivable. >> reporter: fan clubs. trading cards. michael jackson dolls. the craze reached a fever pitch in 1984 when a pepsi commercial gone awry sparked even more frenzy. >> he's on the set and he's descending a staircase. there's a flash behind him. and his hair catches on fire. the most incredible part of that whole thing was that on his being wheeled to the hospital, you know, he's waving to his fans with the glittery glove, you know. to the end a showman. >> reporter: one month later,
jackson took home eight grammys. he also raised eyebrows with his red carpet companion, brooke shields and emmanuel lewis. >> i don't think anybody, even like the iowa housewives, were saying, you know they're not sleeping together. and emmanuel lewis was right there, underlying, like this is not sexual at all. >> reporter: in july 1984, the jackson 5 reunited in a flurry of publicity. but their victory tour reviews were mixed. ♪ we are the world, we are the children ♪ >> reporter: months later, jackson partnered with lionel ritchie on an effort that was more warmly received. concerned about hunger in africa, ritchie and jackson wrote the song "we are the world" and assembled a super group of two dozen artists to perform it. >> one great thing that happened that we had to realize, i can't read or write music, and michael
can't read or write music. so, how do you write a song called "we are the world"? we started listening to tracks. we started -- this is where we started. >> reporter: it was a triumph for jackson. as a musician and as a humanitarian. despite the success of "we are the world" in the mid '80s, seemingly soft-spoken michael was retreating into a world all his own. >> michael had begun to exhibit a certain i think aloofness and a tendency to kind of withdraw from the world. >> michael, michael, michael! >> hysterical adulation does play tricks with your mind. so jackson was almost doomed to implode somewhat anyway. >> reporter: by 1985, the pop star began looking different. people were talking about his plastic surgery.
>> every few months you would see him and you'd go, whoa. you're looking weird, dude. but i think it was about '85, '86, it was like, wow. he's not going to be able to get any weirder than this. then two years later i was like, i was wrong. >> reporter: family members came to jackson's defense. >> you know, you have to say to yourself, who hasn't? >> yeah, but -- >> his whole thing is, if there's something that you feel that you want to change, and then you do that. there are many people in the past who have done many things to themselves and they're not talked about like my brother is. >> reporter: in 1986, a photograph of michael asleep in an anti-aging chamber rocked the tabloids. in 1987, his interest in the elephant man's bones, bubbles the chimp, liz taylor, and an array of strange disguises, set tongues wagging. >> he puts on that black thing.
that mask. i said to him, take that stupid thing off. you look like a monkey. you look like you're insane. and he said -- even then he said to me, well, it was more like he says a razzle dazzle kind of thing, it's mysterious. >> he wanted to give the world the impression he was this mysterious, kind of enigmatic figure. his mistake was he took it way too far. so that he stopped being a curiosity and he started being a freak. ♪ >> reporter: jackson's follow-up to "thriller" hit stores in 1987. ♪ i'm bad, i'm bad >> reporter: simply titled "bad." the pop star's eccentric behavior hardly deterred the album's record-breaking five number ones. spawning iconic music videos and a soldout world tour, "bad" went on to sell 8 million copies, and jackson went on to change his image once again. taking a cue from "bad's" title,
he became a crotch-grabbing tough guy, a far cry from his gentle offstage personae. and yet the money kept rolling in. in march 1988, jackson finalized the purchase of a 2,600 acre ranch. the cost, $19 million. he filled the property with an amusement park, a private zoo, and dubbed the oasis neverland. >> there's a reason it's called neverland valley. you know? his fixation on the i won't grow up, i'm a lost boy, i'm peter pan. >> reporter: and with neverland came the children. >> michael began to sort of surround himself with young boys. and much to i remember the chagrin of people who were working for him. >> reporter: three years later, in the fall of 1991, "dangerous" was released. long-awaited, the buzz was big. as a result its lead single
"black or white" shot to number one. ♪ no matter if you're black or white ♪ >> reporter: coincidentally, fans were wondering about michael's much lighter skin tone, from black to white. why? jackson told oprah he suffered from a rare skin disease. >> if you believe the fact that he, you know -- that he has this congenital skin condition, that's why he's so white, fine. a lot of people think that he has bleached his skin. with michael jackson, you never know what the truth is. >> reporter: coming up, scandal rocks the gates of neverland. ♪ look at this man
♪ >> reporter: by the early 1990s, michael jackson's new music, even fresh r&b hits like "remember the time," couldn't come close to the phenomenon he had created with "thriller." >> nothing was the same after "thriller." it was his greatest blessing but i think also his biggest curse. >> reporter: even though jackson couldn't replace his earlier success, he never stopped innovating.
record producer ronnie jenkins worked with jackson. >> michael called me, he says, "why can't we create new sounds?" i said what do you mean? he said someone created a drum, right? someone created a piano. why can't we create the next instrument?" this is a guy 40 years old who's literally done everything you can think of but still hungry enough to say, i want to create an instrument. >> reporter: what does something like that do you to? >> challenges me creatively. >> reporter: despite his creativity, record sales dwindled as jackson's appearance grew stranger with whiter skin and a severely altered nose and chin. >> the fact that he has spent as much time as he has changing his face, changing his appearance, reminiscent of patients who suffer from body dysmorphic disorder, which is a condition where when a patient looks at themselves in the mirror, they just hate what they see. >> reporter: jackson would
become more reclusive, retreating into his neverland ranch. there he continued to surround himself with children in a make-believe paradise where he could relive his childhood. >> he repudiated the adult world. for him it was a world of betrayal. >> reporter: in 1993, disturbing allegations surfaced concerning jackson's association with children. a 13-year-old boy filed a lawsuit accusing the singer of sexually molesting him. jackson vehemently denied the accusation on national tv. >> i ask all of you to wait and hear the truth before you label or condemn me. don't treat me like a criminal. because i am innocent. >> reporter: the case was eventually settled for nearly $20 million. and the suit was dropped in 1994. but jackson's reputation was seriously damaged. less than a year later, jackson made headlines again when he married lisa marie presley, the 26-year-old daughter of elvis. >> it was quite obvious to all
of us from the beginning that it was a sham, that it was a publicity stunt. and it was just kind of disgusting and silly. even from the beginning when they're nervously holding hands at mtv and he says, "nobody thought this would last." then he goes to kiss her. but she's clearly like, whoa, what are you doing? >> reporter: the marriage collapsed less than two years after the wedding. presley filed for divorce in 1996. on the day after his death, presley wrote on her blog that jackson always thought he'd die early like her father. as jackson's marriage began to crumble, so did his career. filled mostly with past hits and some new angry songs like "scream," 1995 "history: past present, and future" could not revive jackson's success in the studio. then in 1996, jackson sent shock waves around the world when it
was announced he had married debbie rowe, his dermatologist's nurse. >> the thing about michael is he does want what he wants, and he will find a way to get it. she offered to have a child for him. as unconventional as it is, if you really look at it, it's sort of surrogate motherhood. >> reporter: rowe gave birth to their son, prince michael jackson, in 1997. a year later, the couple had a baby daughter, paris michael katherine. in 1999, they divorced. jackson was granted full custody of the children. in 2002 he incited worldwide outrage when he dangled his newborn son, prince michael ii, from the balcony of a berlin hotel. >> when he dangled the baby, it's just, here's michael again being the class clown who doesn't even realize he's the class clown. he thinks he's being loving. it's sort of like the anti-king midas. everything he wants to do just gets screwed up.
>> reporter: just a year later, jackson was catapulted back into the limelight when he was featured in the martin bashir documentary "living with michael jackson." in that documentary, 44-year-old jackson admitted to letting children sleep with him in his bed ator in -- at neverland, but he insisted it wasn't sexual. gellar said he urged the singer to keep children out of his bedroom. >> i was the only person who had the chutzpah to scream at him and tell him that business of inviting children to his bedroom is wrong, and michael just stared at me. >> now you have this documentary years late r showing michael th good father, the good person,
when it did the opposite. >> i said to michael, this is the last thing you need. you're famous enough. you need credibility, not celebrity. he didn't take my advice, he did the documentary. >> that documentary triggered bombshell news that thrust the faded pop star back into the spotlight. just nine months after the show aired, the 13-year-old cancer patient featured in the documentary accused jackson of sexual abuse. >> there will be charges filed against mr. jackson. multiple counts. >> the fact that he could even find himself in this situation after the '93 allegation shows he didn't take that sufficiently to heart. because if he did, he never would have been alone with a child. >> reporter: although jackson denied the abuse allegations, he was arrested and charged with seven counts of child molestation. in 2005, michael jackson would go to trial and face perhaps the toughest six months of his life.
here is what's happening right now. breaking news out of honduras. the president's plane has been blocked from landing at the main military vehicle by military vehicles. honduran troops have also clashed with zelaya supporters. at least one person was killed. zelaya opponents feared he was trying to unlawfully extend his rule. political rumblings inside iran are growing louder. high ranking clerics have now added their voices to the rising discontent over last month's presidential election. they are call the election skewed. it is perhaps the most direct challenge to ayatollah khamenei who declared president mahmoud ahmadinejad the undisputed winner. was it a murder/suicide? nashville police are not yet
saying as very investigate the death of steve mcnair and 20-year-old sahel kazemi described as his girlfriend. the bodies of both were found saturday at a downtown nashville condominium. police discovered a gun under the body of kazemi who apparently had been dating the married mcnair for several months. i'm don lemon. those are your headlines. keeping you informed, cnn, the most trusted name in news. when can a t-shirt be a pacifier? when you add ultra downy with renewing scent pearls. you get 3x longer lasting freshness so you feel more connected. which can turn a sweater into your sanctuary. downy...feel more. and get up to 33% more loads from a single bottle. now every drop of shell gasolines... contain a nitrogen-enriched cleaning system... that seeks and destroys engine gunk...
suspected of child molestation, the king of pop was about to face the music. >> i was trying my best to get him down. i knew it wouldn't look right. i knew it wasn't appropriate. >> reporter: ben brafman was one of jackson's attorneys. >> i recognized that, you know, this is michael jackson. he's a 12-year-old superstar with thousands of people shrieking and screaming. he's trying to not affect the legal proceedings in any way. i think he was responding to his fans by at least showing them his face. >> reporter: cnn's jeffrey toobin was in the courtroom. >> this was certainly the most bizarre criminal trial i ever saw. every day, michael jackson showed up in one of his captain crunch outfits. and he just didn't look like anyone else you'd ever met. >> reporter: michael jackson was officially charged with seven counts of child molestation and several other felonies. he pleaded not guilty.
>> the criminal charges were not a total surprise. because several years earlier, jackson had settled a civil claim against him by a boy under very similar circumstances. >> reporter: but brafman says the superstar was terrified. >> we were alone in a room. this is the first time i really had an opportunity to be completely alone with him. because in all other meetings there were a whole entourage present, there were dozens of lawyers and bodyguards and assistants, and without warning he just broke down and began to sob. and we were sitting very close and he actually collapsed on my shoulder. he was sobbing. >> reporter: it would take a year before a jury was seated and the trial began. the circus surrounding the trial seemed more than jackson could bear. the superstar seemed to be fading in front of the world's eyes. >> he was emaciated. he didn't exchange words with his lawyers very often.
as the trial progressed he got weaker and weaker, including that one bizarre day when he called in sick and the judge said, come in anyway. and jackson showed up in court in his pajamas. >> reporter: it was march 10, 2005. the second day of testimony by jackson's teenaged accuser. >> i feared for michael jackson. not that the trial was going to end badly but that something would happen to michael. when i saw that spectacle, i realized that my concerns about his frailty, about his physical issues and emotional instability were even more well-founded. >> it took a terrible toll. >> reporter: thomas mesereau was jackson's lead defense attorney. walking jackson into the courtroom nearly every day. >> michael jackson was the best client you could have in a courtroom. he was very humble. he was very down to earth, very
decent, and very quiet. i think this trial and this entire case took a terrible toll on him emotionally and physically. >> were you worried he might not make it? >> i was on occasion. sometimes he would call me at 3:00 in the morning crying terrified about what would happen to his children. on verdict day he looked like death warmed over. it was just sad. his cheeks were sunken in. he could hardly smile. he looked horrible. >> reporter: it was june 13, 2005. after more than two months of testimony, 135 witnesses, and seven days of deliberations, the jury reached a verdict. followed by news helicopters and a convoy of cars, jackson rushed from neverland ranch to the courthouse. he was greeted by a crush of reporters and fans. it was the kind of attention and screams he was accustomed to. but his face was expressionless. >> the people of the state of california, plaintiff, versus
michael joe jackson, defendant, not guilty of a lewd act upon a minor child. >> reporter: with each not guilty verdict, the crowd outside cheered. one woman even released a wihit dove for each not guilty announcement. >> i just looked at him and hugged him and he just said, "thank you, thank you." he was very placid. he was very, very controlled. he sat there on a daily basis, watching accusations hurled at him suggesting that he was an insensitive monster. and i know that it tore him to pieces. he survived it with 14 acquittals. but was damage done to his soul, to his spirit, to his gentle, kind way of looking at the world? i suspect so. coming up, michael jackson, from riches to rags.
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down with michael jackson in september 2007 for "ebony" magazine. the interview would be jackson's last. >> the trial hurt him to the core. he felt betrayed. he felt almost abandoned. even though he was acquitted of the charges, a lot of people sort of paint him with that brush but realized he was found not guilty. >> reporter: jackson needed to put distance between him and the taint of neverland. so off he went to the island nation of bahrain. >> michael jackson all but disappeared. there's a lot of mysterious phases of michael jackson's career, but the last three are particularly mysterious. he moved to bahrain with his kids. then moved back. >> reporter: bahrain and back again. the king of pop was now a king in debt. a lavish lifestyle. and legal woes led him into near financial ruin. >> after the trial, he had spent a lot of money on lawyers. and had very little coming in.
he wasn't touring. he wasn't making new records. and he had this towering $270 million debt. >> reporter: and his beloved neverland was toxic asset number one. >> neverland, which cost him around $19 million in 1987, had a staff of about 150 at its peak. and all these carnival rides, exotic animals which required full-time veterinary care. it cost him around $10 million to keep that up at its peak. >> reporter: $10 million a year he could no longer afford. so an auction of his most personal items seemed like the answer. from his sequinned glove to a life-size replica of darth vader made of legos. things ultimately michael would not give up. >> he backed out of the auction. so when you're selling your furniture to make money, it's like -- yeah, it's not exactly a yard sale but he definitely felt
a dire need for cash. >> reporter: michael had another money-making trick up his sleeve. >> i was looking in an old "rolling stone" article from a few years ago and someone said, you'll really know michael jackson is broke when he announces a big european tour. and that's what happened. >> i'll be performing the songs my fans want to hear. >> at the same time he was announcing the show, he made sure to say these are the final shows. >> this is it. this is really it. this is the final curtain call. >> that's not really a comeback when it's your farewell. that was a very odd appearance, that he gave the message, this is good-bye. >> reporter: fans wanted their last good-bye. tickets sold out within hours. but some wondered whether he could pull off a strenuous 50-concert tour. >> wow, 50 dates? 50 dates at 50 years old? that's a lot of dates.
and i was -- and i kept saying, i just hope he gets a physical trainer. someone to really work him out. to make sure he's healthy and prepared. >> it's hard looking at the guy being pushed around in a wheelchair, looking so thin and fragile. it was just very difficult to imagine this is a guy who's ready to come back and do an amazing series of 50 concerts. and then more across the world, which is the plan. it just didn't seem possible. ♪ the man in the mirror >> reporter: but jackson was born to perform and the show must go on. ♪ no message could have been any clearer ♪ >> i think he spent a lot of internal time reflecting on who he was, where he'd been. at the end he talked about his mortality. he said, no one wants to be mortal, we all want to be immortal. the only way you become immortal is that your work lives on. >> reporter: jackson, in his last interview with "ebony."
>> let's face it. i mean, who wants mortality? i mean, everybody wants immortality. you want what you create to live. be it a culp tour or painting or music or composition. like michelangelo. i know the creator will go but his work survives. that is why to escape death, i attempt to bind my soul to my work. >> reporter: when we return, michael onstage the night before he died. [ female announcer ] sometimes, you can get so much out of so little. the same is true with bath tissue too.
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i need an ambulance as soon as possible. >> reporter: michael jackson had probably drawn his last breath by the time this 911 phone call was made from a rented home in the los angeles hills. >> we have a gentleman here that needs help. and he's not breathing. he's not breathes and we need -- we're trying to pump him but he's want -- >> okay, okay. how old is he? >> he's 50 years old. >> 50, okay. he's unconscious, he's not breathing? >> yes, he's not breathing, sir. >> okay, he's not conscious either, he's not breathing? >> he's not conscious, sir.
>> reporter: michael jackson, dead at the age of 50. >> he always appeared to either be in pain or walking with pain. and part of my concern about michael was the fact that he always seemed to be suffering from some form of ailment or infirmity. >> reporter: pain that dated back at least a quarter of a century. >> he went through a horrible accident filming a video. he was horribly burned. >> reporter: it was 1984 when jackson was making this pepsi commercial and his hair caught fire. that was the start of the plastic surgery. and probably the painkillers. a decade later, jackson was so dependent on prescription drugs, that he had to interrupt a world tour to go into a drug treatment program.
>> my friends and doctors advise me to seek professional guidance in order to eliminate what has become an addiction. >> reporter: the shadow of drug abuse would follow him even into death. attorney brian oxman. >> i've talked to this family about it. i warned them. i said that michael is overmedicating and that i did not want to see this kind of a case develop. and in particular, in the anna nicole case, i said, if that's what's going to happen to michael, it's all going to break our hearts. and my worst fears are here. >> we know he was taking some prescription medications. >> reporter: the los angeles coroner's office said they would need toxicology tests before determining the cause of death. >> those tests we anticipate will take approximately four to six additional weeks. >> reporter: physician deepak chopra, a personal friend, said he knew jackson was taking nor narcotic painkiller.
jackson, he says, once asked him for a prescription. >> i said, michael, you don't need these drugs for that. >> reporter: it is chopra's belief that prescription drug abuse was jackson's downfall. >> it was the thing that caused his cardiac arrest. ♪ some things in life they just don't want to be ♪ >> reporter: on the last night of his life, michael jackson was rehearsing for his london show, due to open in just three weeks. >> he was so excited about this project and so invested. and no one wanted it more than michael. and all you had to do was to look in his eyes and to know that that was the truth. >> reporter: his long-time choreographer, kenny ortega, was at that last rehearsal as he had been each night for three months. ♪ all i want to say is that they don't really care about us ♪ >> it was awesome to watch him. it was not like watching a 50-year-old man returning to the stage. in fact, you know, there were nights where you looked up there and it was like he was timeless. ageless.
♪ hold for applause. hold for applause. slow umbrella. fade out. >> reporter: on the very next morning, jackson was found unresponsive in his own bed. again, the 911 tape. >> we're already on our way. did anybody see him? >> yes, we have a personal doctor here with him, sir. >> you have a doctor there? >> yes, but he's not responding to anything. no, he's not responding to the cpr or anything. >> reporter: a life and legend cut short. >> he was exceptional, artistic, and original. he gave the world his heart and soul through his music. >> that soul was huge. and for us to all pay attention to this one being on this planet as much as we did, the light was
truly shining bright. >> he had the charisma, the talent, the voice, the everything it takes. you think about what the "it" factor is, that's what he said. >> he created things that we'd never seen before in visual, in music. you heard things from him that you've never heard before. >> michael had it all. he had the discipline at such a young age. you know, and originality, willing to try anything. a work ethic. all of it. >> reporter: for pop music superstar usher, it's the loss of a pioneer. >> he is everything to music. this man was a universal pop icon. no barrier stood before this man that he didn't challenge, that he didn't break down, that he didn't tear down. and that right there, that will never be replaced. and i'm going to miss him. i'm going to miss him so much.
>> reporter: from his fans, an outpouring of love, grief, and fond remembrance. >> nobody like it anywhere in the world. a lot of people from the mideast love michael jackson. >> we love you, mike! many >> someone asked you to sing a tribute to michael jackson at a service or whatever, what do you think you'd sing? >> oh, in tribute to him -- how i feel about him, i would probably sing "never can say good-bye." >> can you sing a little bit, please? ♪ never can say good-bye ♪ no no no i never can say good-bye ♪ because i won't. ♪ never can say good-bye? no
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