STARRED REVIEW
July 2016

The King of Pop’s last days

By Mark Langthorne & Matt Richards
Review by
On June 25, 2009, Michael Jackson was preparing for 50 sold-out “This Is It” concerts when he stopped breathing at the Los Angeles mansion he was renting. His personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, who was administering medication intravenously to help him sleep, noticed that something was wrong at 11:51 a.m., and 83 minutes later, 50-year-old Jackson was pronounced dead at UCLA Medical Center.
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On June 25, 2009, Michael Jackson was preparing for 50 sold-out “This Is It” concerts when he stopped breathing at the Los Angeles mansion he was renting. His personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, who was administering medication intravenously to help him sleep, noticed that something was wrong at 11:51 a.m., and 83 minutes later, 50-year-old Jackson was pronounced dead at UCLA Medical Center. 

Drawing on court documents and other materials, 83 Minutes examines what happened during that time, along with the tragic factors that brought Jackson and Murray together, resulting in Jackson’s death and Murray’s imprisonment.

Despite his immense earnings and accomplishments, Jackson was facing financial ruin and was addicted to prescription drugs. He relied on the anesthetic Propofol, which he called “milk,” to help ease the rush of adrenaline after rehearsals and shows and allow him to sleep. Murray was in financial trouble as well, and all too happy to enable Jackson’s dependencies. 

Instead of carefully monitoring his patient, Murray likely had stepped out of Jackson’s bedroom/“medication room” to answer emails and make phone calls, likely not noticing when Jackson stopped breathing. He was on the phone with his mistress, in fact, when he abruptly ended the call, and the final chaos ensued.

Meanwhile, Jackson’s three children were playing in the den, under the care of their nanny, and his chef was preparing a Cobb salad for the family’s lunch.

Although 83 Minutes doesn’t deliver any bombshells, Jackson fans will find the book a sadly fascinating minute-by-minute account of the singer’s last days and hours.

 

This article was originally published in the July 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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83 Minutes

83 Minutes

By Mark Langthorne & Matt Richards
Thomas Dunne
ISBN 9781250108920

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