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Culture

Doctors’ ‘negligence’ caused Jackson’s death, alleges ex-manager

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2009-06-28

In an interview with FRANCE 24, Tarak Ben Ammar, Michael Jackson’s former manager and friend, accuses the late musical icon’s doctors of failing to protect the King of Pop.

Amid mounting questions about the causes of Michael Jackson’s death, the former manager and friend of the deceased pop icon has blamed the negligence of doctors treating Jackson for his untimely demise.

 

In an interview with FRANCE 24 on Saturday, Tarak Ben Ammar described the conundrum of Jackson’s enormous wealth, which not only failed to serve his best interests, but appeared to have contributed to his death.


“I think it was the accumulation of negligence of doctors not being careful that a young man abused his own body,” Ben Ammar said. “With the money he had, they figured: 'He could get the drugs anyway, so I might as well just give it to him.'”


Toward the end of his life, Ben Ammar suggested, the sheer scale of Jackson’s stardom prevented the King of Pop from receiving sound medical counsel.


“You know when you have a global star, it’s very difficult to say no, you have to have the courage to say no,” said Ben Ammar, referring to Jackson’s doctors. “They should have protected him. That’s the role of doctors, including the doctors who destroyed his face,” he added, referring to the 50-year-old superstar’s penchant for cosmetic surgery.


A Tunisian-born, Paris-based international film producer and distributor, Ben Ammar was Jackson’s manager during the pop star’s HIStory World Tour from 1996 to 1997.


Seeking responsible doctors in Paris


According to Ben Ammar, while Jackson was not abusing prescription drugs during the HIStory tour, it was very obvious the troubled American pop star was under too much medication.


As his manager, Ben Ammar said he tried to address the problem by bringing Jackson to live with him in Paris, since he believed French doctors were more careful about making out prescriptions.


“I knew he needed help and he needed protection, and I wish he’d had protection since I left him in 1998,” said Ben Ammar.


In a wide-ranging interview with FRANCE 24, Ben Ammar described Jackson’s unhealthy and essentially lonely lifestyle.


“Michael did not have a very healthy diet,” he explained. “He ate a lot of junk food, sometimes he didn’t eat, he would go on for days without eating. He didn’t have regular sleeping hours. Again, he’s not like you and me,” he noted. “He did not go to restaurants, he did not go outdoors, he was always confined, hiding. So it’s not really a normal lifestyle.”


‘It won’t bring Michael back’


With the results of toxicology reports of Jackson’ body still weeks away, mystery continues to surround the causes of Jackson’s death.


But with a growing number of former Jackson staffers pointing to his excessive use of medications, notably a painkiller called Demerol, media attention has focused on the star’s alleged prescription drug abuse.


In what is now being viewed as an uncanny allusion to his death, Jackson himself dealt with the issue of Demerol dependence in his 1997 single, “Morphine.”


Fans of the King of Pop are pouring over the lyrics, “Kick in the back baby; A heart-attack baby,” followed by the refrain, “Demerol, Demerol; Oh God he’s taking Demerol.”

On Saturday, Los Angeles police scheduled an interview with Jackson’s personal physician, cardiologist Conrad Murray. A Los Angeles police spokesman told reporters on Saturday that investigators had briefly spoken to Murray, but they wanted to speak to him again.


Murray was reportedly with Jackson in his rented Los Angeles residence - and tried to resuscitate him - when the singer was stricken.


The investigation comes as the Jackson family is seeking a second autopsy after an examination by the Los Angeles County coroner's office failed to determine what killed the 50-year-old entertainer, pending toxicology tests that were expected to take weeks.


Speaking to FRANCE 24, Ben Ammar said he was not surprised that the Jackson family was seeking a second, independent autopsy. “I understand that they would want to have that to be sure about what happened,” said Ben Ammar. “Unfortunately, it won’t bring Michael back.”


Jackson's family has gathered at his parents' suburban Los Angeles home over the weekend to make funeral arrangements for the deceased star.

 

Date created : 2009-06-28

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