In 2009, Michael Jackson died from acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication, which led to the conviction of his doctor, Conrad Murray, who served two years in prison for recklessly administering the propofol that was determined to have killed the King of Pop. Since then, Jackson’s legacy has been under attack from those who believe the allegations of sexual abuse leveled in Leaving Neverland and vehemently defended by the people that were closest to him.
According to singer-songwriter Elton John, who met Jackson when he was a teen, the pop star was “mentally ill” during his final years. In his new memoir, Me, John suggested that Jackson’s mental state had deteriorated before his death in 2009 and was a “disturbing” person, Radar Online reports.
“He was genuinely mentally ill, a disturbing person to be around,” John wrote after admitting that he began to question what concoction of prescription drugs Jackson was “being pumped full of.”
Although John believes that Jackson “totally lost his marbles” in the 2000s, he claims there were signs that Jackson was troubled before the peak of his purported mental problems. He outlined a lunch he had with Jackson in the 1990s and said the singer looked “really frail and ill.” Eventually, Jackson left the lunch “without a word” and was later found playing games with the 11-year-old son of John’s housekeeper.
“For whatever reason, he couldn’t seem to cope with adult company at all,” John wrote.
Jackson’s affinity for children is the reason many believe the accusations against him, but some, such as singer Akon, claim that his love for children was not malicious and purely “humanitarian.”
On this date in 1996, Michael performed for the first time as a solo artist on the African continent for 60,000 fans in Tunis, the capital of Tunisia. He then announced that proceeds would benefit the National Solidarity Fund, a Tunisian charity fighting poverty. #MJHumanitarian pic.twitter.com/lCBSHUQncV— Michael Jackson (@michaeljackson) October 7, 2019
Jackson’s former bodyguard, Matt Fiddes, has been one of the late pop star’s most ardent defenders after his death. According to Fiddes, the 2005 accusation that Jackson molested 13-year-old Gavin Arvizo — which led to a trial and eventual not guilty verdict — scarred Jackson permanently.
“It was clear after the verdict he was never going to be able to click his fingers and be back in Michael Jackson mode again,” he said, per The Daily Mirror. “He was like a walking deadman by the end. Eating and sleeping was a battle, he was just a complete mess.”
Fiddes also claims that Jackson experienced paranoia following the trial.
“He was terrified about being assassinated on stage, and was making silly suggestions about wearing a bulletproof vest while performing,” he said.
Despite assurances from those closest to Jackson that he would be protected, Fiddes claims that Jackson’s mental state did not improve.