Michael Jackson’s autopsy report was surprising as much for what it didn’t contain as for what it did: The singer was in relatively good health for a man his age and no illegal drugs were detected in his system.
Jackson’s physical condition, detailed in his autopsy report obtained by The Associated Press, could be a useful tool for prosecutors as they weigh charges against his personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, who told police he administered a powerful anesthetic to the singer shortly before he died.
The coroner has ruled Jackson’s death at age 50 a homicide with his death caused by acute intoxication of the anesthetic propofol with other sedatives a contributing factor. The coroner found the propofol was administered without any medical need and that recommended resuscitation equipment was missing.
The autopsy findings block a potential defense for Murray — that Jackson hid serious pre-existing conditions that increased the risk of death from the drugs he willingly took.
“It clearly establishes that Michael Jackson was a healthy person whose death appears to have been directly caused by the administration of some very powerful sedatives,” said criminal defense attorney and former federal prosecutor Mark Werksman. “This autopsy report seems to clear the path for a prosecution that his death was caused by an overdose.”
The Los Angeles County coroner’s report shows Jackson’s weight of 136 pounds was in the acceptable range for a 5-foot-9 man. His heart was strong with no sign of plaque buildup. His kidneys and most other major organs were normal.
Still, the singer did have health issues, many of them age related, including arthritis in the lower spine and some fingers, and mild plaque buildup in his leg arteries. Most serious was the condition of his lungs, which the autopsy report said were chronically inflamed and had reduced capacity that might have left him short of breath.