THIS is the last picture of pop king Michael Jackson, taken shortly before his untimely death today, and one which sparked a bidding war on news networks in the World.
ET online.com was the first to publish the picture, taken as paramedics fought desperately to save the star after he suffered an apparent cardiac arrest.
It?s believed the network forked out more than US $100,000 for the single shot, destined to become the final photo in the life of the superstar.
Video: Neighbours remember MJ
Jackson was pronounced dead today after paramedics found him in a coma following a panic-stricken phone call from the superstar’s Los Angeles mansion.
The dramatic call was made by a member of staff early today at 2:26pm (7.26am Sydney time)
Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Steve Ruda responded to the alert and arrived at the home in Carolwood Drive off Sunset Boulevard to find the 50-year-old singer collapsed and not breathing. He had suffered a cardiac arrest.
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The paramedics performed CPR and took him to UCLA Medical Center, Ruda said. The emergency staff rushed him to hospital in their vehicle, where a computer screen revealed chilling details of his condition.
Gallery: Michael Jackson and his very Wacko life that turned tragic
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A record of the call-out read: ?50 year old male Not breathing at all.? It gave the time of the call- out as 12.21pm local time.
Medics administered heart massage and oxygen along the route. But they could not revive the star.
Jacko?s family were informed and rushed to his bedside as weeping fans began massing outside the city?s UCLA Medical Centre.
There were screams of ?You?ve got to save him, you?ve got to save him? as the star was stretchered in.
Mum Katherine made it to the hospital shortly after her son, although his father Joe was in Las Vegas when told the news. Close friend Elizabeth Taylor also rushed to the hospital to say her goodbyes.
Finally a doctor appeared and told shocked relatives and aides that all efforts to restart his heart had failed and that he had died.
Sister La Toya was seen running into the hospital sobbing after her brother was pronounced dead.
Los Angeles County Coroner Fred Corell today confirmed that Jackson had died of heart failure at 2.26pm local time.
Law enforcement sources told the LA Times that Los Angeles Police Department robbery-homicide detectives have opened an investigation into the death, though they stressed there is no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
The detectives plan to interview relatives, friends and Jackson’s doctors to try to figure out what happened. The L.A. County coroner’s office will determine a cause of death.
It’s been revealed today Jackson was taking prescription drugs as he battled to get into shape for his gruelling concert comeback due to get underway in London next month.
Listen to Jacko?s top 50 songs
Jackson, who fought long-running battles with prescription medication throughout his career, was taking the drugs after suffering injuries during training for his comeback, lawyer and spokesman Brian Oxman said.
Oxman told CNN that he had harboured concerns about Jackson’s use of drugs, saying members of the star’s entourage were “enablers” and comparing his case to the drug overdose death of Playboy centrefold Anna-Nicole Smith.
“This is not something that has been unexpected… because of the medications which Michael was under,” Oxman said from the hospital where Jackson’s family members had gathered.
“The people who have surrounded him have been enabling him… if you think that the case of Anna-Nicole Smith was an abuse, it was nothing to what we have seen in Michael Jackson’s life.”
Jackson’s brother Jermaine Jackson cautioned at a Los Angeles hospital press conference that the cause of his death would not be known until an autopsy was performed.
Jackson rented the Bel-Air home – described as a French chateau built in 2002 with seven bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, 12 fireplaces and a theater – for $100,000 a month.
Jackson has three children – sons Prince Michael 7, and Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., 12, and daughter Paris Michael Katherine, 11.
The news comes as Jackson was attempting a comeback after years of tabloid headlines, most notably about his trial and acquittal on child molestation charges.
Michael Jackson Biography.
was unquestionably the biggest pop star of the ’80s, and certainly one of the most popular recording artists of all time.
Michael Joseph Jackson is born August 29, in Gary, Indiana, USA.
Joe, Michael?s father, organises a family musical group ? it eventually becomes the Jackson 5
The Jackson 5 release ?I Want You Back?, ?ABC?, ?The Love You Save? and ?I’ll Be There? ? they all top the charts
Michael Jackson scores his first number 1 single as a solo artist with ?Ben? ? he also earns an Oscar nomination
Jackson stars in the movie ?The Wiz? with Diana Ross and meets Quincy Jones
Jackson releases his first solo album as an adult. ?Off The Wall?, produced by Quincy Jones goes platinum, while singles ?Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough? and ?Rock With You? top the charts.
Jackson releases ?Thriller?, the album goes on to become the biggest-selling album of all time, staying in the charts for 2 years and hitting number one worldwide
?The Girl Is Mine? ? a duet with Paul McCartney, ?Beat It?, ?Billie Jean?, ?Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’, ?Human Nature? and ?P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)??all reach number one in the charts.
Michael Jackson supports the singles with amazing music videos, turning them into mini movies with narratives, best shown on ?Thriller?, widely acknowledged as the greatest video of all time.
Jackson wins 8 Grammys and becomes a spokesperson for Pepsi.
Michael records his last album with the Jacksons.
?We Are The World? is released, the single supports the all-star famine relief effort for Africa.
Jackson buys a ranch in California and turns it into Neverland, an amusement park filled with rides and animals. He undergoes cosmetic surgery and gets accused of wanting to ?turn white? as his skin gets lighter.
Wild rumours about Jackson?s personal life start to surface, the media talk about hormone treatments, the star sleeping in an oxygen tent and excessive cosmetic surgery.
Jackson?s new album ?Bad? is released – once again produced by Quincy Jones.
Singles ?I Just Can’t Stop Loving You?, ?Bad?, ?The Way You Make Me Feel?, ?Man in the Mirror? and ?Dirty Diana? all debut at number 1.
The world tour supporting the album becomes the highest-grossing tour of all time.
More media speculation about the star?s personal life ? tabloids start to call him ?Wacko Jacko?.
New album ?Dangerous? is released, first single ?Black Or White? debuts at number one, although the video gets criticised for it?s violent scenes.
Following singles ?Remember the Time?, ?In the Closet?, ?Jam? and ?Heal the World? don?t perform as well as expected.
Jackson is accused of molesting a 13 year old boy, he denies the charges and settles out of court, paying an estimated 18 to 20 million.
Michael Jackson marries Lisa Marie Presley, the marriage breaks up 19 months later.
Jackson releases ?HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book 1?, a two-CD set featuring new material and his greatest hits, singles ?Scream? and ?You Are Not Alone? top the charts but the record is perceived as a disappointment.
Jackson marries Debbie Rowe, over the next two years the couple has two children, son Prince Michael Jackson, Jr. and daughter Paris Michael Katherine Jackson.
The couple divorce.
Michael Jackson is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and holds a massive concert at Madison Square Garden celebrating the 30th anniversary of his first solo record.
Release of ?Invincible?- the album performs well but singles ?You Rock My World? and ?Butterflies? disappoint and the single ?What More Can I Give? get cancelled.
Jackson?s media appearances take an extreme turn ? when at the MTV Video Music Awards he gets a birthday cake he thinks he has won the Artist of the Millennium title.
Fans grasp in horror when he dangles his son off a balcony in Germany. He apologises the next day but his image gets more and more tarnished.
The star?s Neverland ranch is searched and he is arrested on charges of child molestation.
Jackson?s child molestation trial begins and he is acquitted on all counts.
The singer moves to Bahrain.
Jackson announces his comeback with a 50 date run of shows at London?s O2 arena called This Is It.
Michael Jackson dies June 25th in California