Drug Use Key Question In Michael Jackson Death

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One day after Michael Jackson's sudden death, speculation turned to what killed the 50-year-old "King of Pop" on the cusp of a long-awaited comeback concert series.

A family attorney said on Friday he had been concerned that Jackson's use of prescription drugs for dancing-related injuries would eventually prove fatal and that the entertainer's inner circle had ignored his warnings.

A Jackson family member told celebrity website TMZ.com the singer had been given an injection of the painkiller Demerol before he went into full cardiac arrest at his rental home around midday on Thursday. TMZ soon after broke the news that Jackson had died at a Los Angeles hospital.

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The Los Angeles County Coroner's office said the autopsy would begin Friday morning, but it could take six to eight weeks to determine a cause of death, which will likely have to wait for the return of toxicology tests. Those tests will determine if Jackson had any drugs, alcohol or prescription medications in his system.

The family has yet to announce details of funeral services. Jackson's body was flown by helicopter from the hospital to the coroner's office late Thursday.

Lawyer Brian Oxman, a spokesman for the Jackson family, told CBS's "The Early Show" on Friday that he had been concerned about the prescription drugs that Jackson took due to injuries suffered while performing.

"I had warned everyone that I could warn and I told them that one day, Michael Jackson is going to wake up dead, which is a very odd way of putting it," Oxman said.

"I do not want to point fingers at anyone because I want to hear what the toxicology report says and the coroner says but the plain fact of the matter is that Michael Jackson had prescription drugs at his disposal at all times," he said.

Detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department's Robbery Homicide division searched Jackson's home in the upscale Holmby Hills neighbourhood of Los Angeles at the behest of Chief William Bratton.

The doctor who lived at Michael Jackson's house is missing, TMZ reported. A law enforcement source told TMZ that the doctor, whose name is not known, gave Jackson an injection before he died.

Facing a battered reputation and a mountain of debt which The Wall Street Journal reported ran to $500 million (303.2 million pounds), Jackson had spent the last two months rehearsing for the London concerts, including Wednesday at the huge Staples Centre arena, home to the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team.

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