The end of Michael Jackson may have started in the 80s

Forensic Pathologist Dr. Carol Terry reviewed Michael Jackson's autopsy report to help us understand what really happened to the pop star.

"If you take the drugs out of the equation... you see very little, and not enough that would explain the death," Dr. Terry said. "Mr. Jackson was a relatively healthy middle-aged male with disease processes consistent with his age."

So if we want to get a really clear picture of what killed the King of Pop, we have to go back to when his problems with drugs began.

In 1984, Michael Jackson and Pepsi got together for a highly-anticipated commercial shoot, but during the filming, there was a freak accident that would change Jackson’s life. In a video from that day, you can clearly see his hair catch on fire. You can also see that Jackson doesn't seem to notice until people surround him. But by then, the damage was already done.

Jackson says he began abusing prescription medications to combat the pain from the burns on his scalp and to help him sleep. A decade later, the effects of that incident still lingered.

In 1993, Jackson released a video statement, which addressed the public regarding allegations of child molestation… and his drug problem.

"After my tour ended, I remained out of the country undergoing treatment for a dependency on pain medication," Jackson said.

Jackson's biographer Randy Taraborrelli says that Jackson's admission started to reveal a darker side to his health.

"He was taking a lot of anxiety medications and a lot of other medications to help him with his lupus condition and with vitiligo and with the pain in his scalp and with anxiety and sleeplessness," Taraborrelli said. "There was a lot of stuff going on all the time."

It was that "stuff" that apparently led to a carousel of doctors, bottles of propofol and other drugs, and ultimately one final announcement.

On June 25, 2009, Jermaine Jackson delivered some sad news to the world. "My brother, the legendary King of Pop, Michael Jackson, passed away on Thursday, June 25, 2009 at 2:26 PM. It is believed he suffered cardiac arrest in his home. However, cause of his death is unknown until the results of his autopsy are known."

The Los Angeles Coroner's Office declared the cause of death was acute propofol intoxication with benzodiazepine effect.

"The amounts of propofol in Mr. Jackson's system were in significant concentrations that are consistent with the use in major surgical interventions," Dr. Terry said. "When you're going to induce this type of sedation or general anesthesia to someone, you need to ensure that they're breathing."

Dr. Terry is the Chief Medical Examiner for Gwinnett County, GA and has conducted more than 3,000 autopsies, yet she's never seen a situation quite like this.

"This was very unusual medication for an individual to be receiving in a home setting," she said. "I have never heard of this being done before."

Aside from the drug overdose, Dr. Terry believes Jackson was a physically fit and healthy 50-year-old man.

In the weeks and months leading up to his 50 shows in London, people close to Jackson weren't aware of his health issues. Bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno, most famous for his role as the 'Incredible Hulk,' was Jackson's personal trainer. He says he never saw it coming.

"He looked fantastic, the way he moved." Ferrigno said, "I worked with him in different exercises and I've never seen him look better.”

An attorney representing Dr. Conrad Murray watched hours of concert rehearsal footage on behalf of his client. He found it to be irrelevant to their case but was impressed by what he saw.

"He didn't appear on the film as depressed or anything," Michael Flanagan said. "He's very talented. You would look at him if you saw one isolated clip, you'd look at him and say, 'Hey, this guy's pretty good.'"

But the image Jackson portrayed publicly hid the reality of his struggle to sleep.

"It's almost like you want him to defy age and deterioration and unfortunately we're only human and we can't and he was no exception," Dr. Terry said.

Here is the actual autopsy report, prepared by L.A. Medical Examiner Dr. Christopher Rogers. No shortage of eye-opening information inside.  Take a look and share your reactions with us in the comments below or over on Twitter @HLNTV or @InSession. You can also find us on the Facebook pages for HLN or In Session.

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