Coroner says Jackson died from lethal dose of propofol

Wed Aug 26, 2009 12:52pm EDT
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By Chris Baltimore

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Pop star Michael Jackson died from a lethal dose of the powerful anesthetic propofol given in a cocktail of drugs, leading authorities to suspect his doctor of manslaughter, court documents showed on Monday.

The "Thriller" singer suffered cardiac arrest and died on June 25 at age 50. Since then, an investigation by state and federal agencies have focused on Conrad Murray, Jackson's personal doctor who was at his bedside the day he died.

The findings, contained in a warrant to search Murray's home and offices, paint a picture of an insomniac pop star who could not sleep without heavy medication. Jackson sought out propofol -- routinely used to sedate patients and anesthetize them before surgeries such as a colonoscopy -- and called it his "milk."

"The Los Angeles Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner, Dr. (Lakshmanan) Sathyavagiswaran, indicated that he had reviewed the preliminary toxicology results and his preliminary assessment of Jackson's cause of death was due to lethal levels of propofol (diprivan)," according to a warrant to search Murray's offices issued by California.

The document was unsealed and released by the Harris County District Clerk in Houston, where Murray has an office. U.S. agents raided the office on July 22.

In an affidavit seeking the warrant, Houston police officer E.G. Chance said U.S. agents had gathered "items constituting evidence of the offense of manslaughter that tend to show that Dr. Conrad Murray committed the said criminal offense."

Murray's attorney, Ed Chernoff, was not available to comment.

In a statement, a representative said Jackson's family has "full confidence in the legal process, and commends the ongoing efforts of the L.A. County Coroner, the L.A. District Attorney and the L.A. Police Department."   Continued...

<p>A fan holds a tattered photo Michael Jackson outside a public memorial at the Apollo Theater in New York, June 30, 2009. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>