What Killed Michael Jackson and Prince?
Two of music’s saddest deaths occurred 7 years apart: Michael Jackson (50) in 2009 and Prince (57) in 2016. Their similarities in death are chilling.
Two of music’s saddest deaths occurred seven years apart. Michael Jackson’s death at the age of 50 shocked the world on June 25, 2009. Ask many folks, and they remember where they were when the shocking news broke. Personally, it was summer music camp, as a camp counselor. The news of his death was revealed before DJ’ing the dance. Lots of MJ played that evening. Prince’s death came as no less shock April 21, 2016. A text from a friend delivered the blow, at the close of the school day. Prince was gone! What killed “The King” and of course THE Prince? Drugs.
It’s shocking when you look back on it. Drugs took two of music’s greatest in the short span of seven years at a young age. Neither 50 or 57 years of age is considered to be a long life, especially when most of us think of old age beginning minimally in our 70s. 50 and 57 seems unfair, even if both the lives of MJ and Prince were full of glory, at least from an entertainment perspective. Let’s examine the drugs that caused/contributed to the death of each.
According to Jackson’s toxicology report, the following drugs were found in his system: Propofol, Lidocaine, Diazepam, Lorazepam, Midazolam, and Ephedrine. As we know, Propofol (Diprivan) was key in the King’s death. It’s intended use is to “help you relax before and during general anesthesia for surgery or other medical procedures,” according to Drugs.com. As we know, MJ wasn’t having surgeries, and if he was, they weren’t occurring as frequently as he was being administered Propofol by Dr. Conrad Murray. He was being given a drug intravenously… Among key serious side effects of note is “weak or shallow breathing.”
In regards to the other drugs in his system, Diazepam also stands out. The U.S. National Library of Medicine has specific warnings in regards to overdosing on Diazepam, stating, “Too much of this medicine can cause death. Symptoms of an overdose include extreme dizziness or weakness, trouble breathing, slow heartbeat, seizure, and cold, clammy skin.” These symptoms apply to both orally administered and administration by injection. Hmm, coupled with Propofol, in the case of Michael Jackson, reading the worst case scenario with the drugs found on his body, that sounds like a surefire “ticking time bomb.”
According to Prince’s autopsy, the cause of death was an opioid overdose (Fentanyl). Search any number of sites with information on Fentanyl, and its adverse effects seemingly can be quite adverse (yeah that’s a total UNDERSTATEMENT). Fentanyl is a painkiller, painkillers can be highly addictive, and ultimately, at its worse, painkillers can literally kill. Symptoms of an overdose on Fentanyl that parallels a side effect of Propofol: extremely shallow or slow breathing. Yikes!
It isn’t crazy that Jackson and Prince died surprisingly similarly. The drugs were different, but both died in unfortunate fashion. Neither were associated with drugs. Calling either addicts seems like sacrilege. Arguably, Prince maybe more so than Michael didn’t intend to become addicted to painkillers, but it happened, at least given his hidden hip issues. Jackson seemed to be looking for peace judging by the cocktail of drugs found in his system, but that peace would cause his demise, aided by the hand of a questionable, negligent physician.
Royalty can fall victim to the devastating effects of drugs. In both cases, despite the troubling cause of death, musical legacy surpasses all. The respective overdoses, however, serve as reminder of the devastation caused by drugs.