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Michael Jackson's death: Coroner to perform autopsy

June 26, 2009 |  7:03 am

The Los Angeles County coroner's office will perform an autopsy today on Michael Jackson as officials attempt to piece together details of the pop star's death at age 50.

Jackson died as he was preparing a comeback, with 50 shows scheduled for London this year. Johnny Caswell, a principal at Centerstaging, the Burbank soundstage where Jackson had been rehearsing, said Jackson was "very frail" but approached the rehearsals -- including one the night before his death that witnesses at Staples Center called triumphant -- with boundless energy.

"He was working hard," Caswell said.

The circumstances of Jackson's death remain unclear. LAPD robbery-homicide detectives have opened an investigation, though they stressed that there was no evidence of criminal wrongdoing. The detectives plan to interview relatives, friends and Jackson's doctors to try to figure out what happened.

Detectives have been swarming Jackson's Holmby Hills home and impounded a car at the home last night. LAPD Lt. Gregg Strenk told reporters outside the mansion that Police Chief William J. Bratton assigned detectives to the case because of Jackson's high profile.

"Don't read anything into it," he said.

Results of the autopsy could take weeks and will include, as is common practice, toxicology to determine what drugs if any were in Jackson's system.

A Los Angeles Fire Department source told The Times that Jackson was in full cardiac arrest Thursday when rescue units arrived on scene. A doctor was in the house performing CPR on him, said the source, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the news media.

Jermaine Jackson told reporters at the hospital that medical personnel made a heroic effort to revive his brother.

"His personal physician, who was with him [at the house] at the time, attempted to resuscitate my brother, as did paramedics," he said. "A team of highly skilled doctors, including emergency physicians and cardiologists, attempted to resuscitate him for a period of more than one hour, but were unsuccessful."

-- Andrew Blankstein and Richard Winton

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