New book offers glimpse of Jackson’s personal life
NEW YORK (AP) - A personal assistant-turned-personal manager to Michael Jackson said the King of Pop had been taking propofol as early as 1999, and that the singer was drugged up ahead of his 2001 30th anniversary concerts.
Frank Cascio, who became a family friend to Jackson at age 5 and eventually one of the singer’s closest friends and employees, writes in a new book that he first noticed Jackson taking the drug Demerol while accompanying the singer on his “Dangerous” tour in 1993.
He writes in his new book, “My Friend Michael: An Ordinary Friendship with an Extraordinary Man,” that Jackson started the first of two anniversary shows in 2001 an hour late as a result of being drugged up in his dressing room.
Cascio became a friend of Jackson’s after his father introduced him to the singer; Cascio’s father worked at the Hemsley Palace in Manhattan, managing the hotel’s towers and suites, where Jackson stayed. Following that, a 5-year-old Cascio and his younger brother Eddie, spent time with Jackson at his Neverland Ranch.
He says Jackson was first introduced to Demerol in 1984 when he burned his head during a Pepsi commercial shoot, and Cascio writes that he first noticed Jackson using the medicine on his “Dangerous” tour.
“Now, on tour, and again in deep physical pain, Michael turned back to those drugs,” he wrote.
Cascio says Jackson also took propofol in 1999 in Munich when the singer was 50 feet in the air and instead of coming down slowly, the platform Jackson was on fell down. Cascio also writes that Jackson had taken Demerol to treat the skin disease vitiligo, and grew worried about his drug use.
“It had become clear to me that Michael’s drug use was escalating,” he wrote. Cascio said sometimes he paid doctors in cash “because all of Michael’s medical issues had to be kept from the public and their cost off the books.” He also said he had some of the prescriptions written out in his name.
“Over the years, I had grown accustomed to seeing doctors coming and going, particularly in late tours, when Michael was under great stress and needed help falling asleep.”
Cascio said he wanted to seek out help, but didn’t know who to turn to. Ahead of Jackson’s 2001 anniversary shows, he said he spoke to Janet, Randy and Tito about their brother’s drug use. He writes that Jackson’s siblings approached him, but the singer “simply pushed them away.”
The pop star’s doctor, Conrad Murray, was convicted Monday of involuntary manslaughter for supplying the insomnia-plagued Jackson with the powerful operating-room anesthetic propofol to help him sleep as he rehearsed for his big comeback.