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Michael Jackson: Recent medical screening 'declared him healthy'

June 25, 2009 |  4:33 pm

Those close to Michael Jackson say he had been working diligently to get back in shape for his planned comeback next month in London.

A year ago, he was gaunt and using a wheelchair, but in preparation for a 50-show run in London, he was exercising with a trainer in addition to daylong rehearsals with dancers half his age. He also was a strict vegetarian.

“He’s working out. He’s in great shape,” his manager, Frank Dileo, said last month.

In order for concert promoters to get insurance for the concerts, which were scheduled to begin July 13, Jackson underwent a four-hour physical in Los Angele this spring with an independent doctor flown in from New York.

Rand Phillips, the chief executive officer of promoter AEG Live, said in an interview last month that the medical screening uncovered “no issues whatsoever.”

“He declared him healthy,” Phillips said. “His cholesterol level is better than mine.”

But a physical may not have revealed a looming heart attack, Dr. John Harold, a Cedars-Sinai Medical Center cardiologist, said.

“This is the type of patient who could have a stress test the day before and it could be completely normal and the next day could have a plaque rupture and a fatal heart attack,” said Harold, who did not treat Jackson.

-- Harriet Ryan