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June 26, 2009

A Tribute to My Friend, Michael Jackson

Posted: 12:11 PM ET

By Deepak Chopra

art.jackson.skin.grammys.giMichael Jackson will be remembered, most likely, as a shattered icon, a pop genius who wound up a mutant of fame. That's not who I will remember, however. His mixture of mystery, isolation, indulgence, overwhelming global fame, and personal loneliness was intimately known to me. For twenty years I observed every aspect, and as easy as it was to love Michael - and to want to protect him - his sudden death yesterday seemed almost fated.

Two days previously he had called me in an upbeat, excited mood. The voice message said, "I've got some really good news to share with you." He was writing a song about the environment, and he wanted me to help informally with the lyrics, as we had done several times before. When I tried to return his call, however, the number was disconnected. (Terminally spooked by his treatment in the press, he changed his phone number often.)  So I never got to talk to him, and the music demo he sent me lies on my bedside table as a poignant symbol of an unfinished life.

When we first met, around 1988, I was struck by the combination of charisma and woundedness that surrounded Michael. He would be swarmed by crowds at an airport, perform an exhausting show for three hours, and then sit backstage afterward, as we did one night in Bucharest, drinking bottled water, glancing over some Sufi poetry as I walked into the room, and wanting to meditate.

That person, whom I considered (at the risk of ridicule) very pure, still survived - he was reading the poems of Rabindranath Tagore when we talked the last time, two weeks ago.

Michael exemplified the paradox of many famous performers, being essentially shy, an introvert who would come to my house and spend most of the evening sitting by himself in a corner with his small children. I never saw less than a loving father when they were together (and wonder now, as anyone close to him would, what will happen to them in the aftermath).

Michael's reluctance to grow up was another part of the paradox. My children adored him, and in return he responded in a childlike way. He declared often, as former child stars do, that he was robbed of his childhood. Considering the monstrously exaggerated value our society places on celebrity, which was showered on Michael without stint, the public was callous to his very real personal pain. It became another tawdry piece of the tabloid Jacko, pictured as a weird changeling and as something far more sinister.

It's not my place to comment on the troubles Michael fell heir to from the past and then amplified by his misguided choices in life. He was surrounded by enablers, including a shameful plethora of M.D.s in Los Angeles and elsewhere who supplied him with prescription drugs. As many times as he would candidly confess that he had a problem, the conversation always ended with a deflection and denial. As I write this paragraph, the reports of drug abuse are spreading across the cable news channels. The instant I heard of his death this afternoon, I had a sinking feeling that prescription drugs would play a key part.

The closest we ever became, perhaps, was when Michael needed a book to sell primarily as a concert souvenir. It would contain pictures for his fans but there would also be a text consisting of short fables. I sat with him for hours while he dreamily wove Aesop-like tales about animals, mixed with words about music and his love of all things musical. This project became "Dancing the Dream" after I pulled the text together for him, acting strictly as a friend. It was this time together that convinced me of the modus vivendi Michael had devised for himself: to counter the tidal wave of stress that accompanies mega-stardom, he built a private retreat in a fantasy world where pink clouds veiled inner anguish andPeter Pan was a hero, not a pathology.

This compromise with reality gradually became unsustainable. He went to strange lengths to preserve it. Unbounded privilege became another toxic force in his undoing. What began as idiosyncracy, shyness, and vulnerability was ravaged by obsessions over health, paranoia over security, and an isolation that grew more and more unhealthy. When Michael passed me the music for that last song, the one sitting by my bedside waiting for the right words, the procedure for getting the CD to me rivaled a CIA covert operation in its secrecy.

My memory of Michael Jackson will be as complex and confused as anyone's. His closest friends will close ranks and try to do everything in their power to insure that the good lives after him. Will we be successful in rescuing him after so many years of media distortion? No one can say. I only wanted to put some details on the record in his behalf. My son Gotham traveled with Michael as a roadie on his "Dangerous" tour when he was thirteen. Will it matter that Michael behaved with discipline and impeccable manners around my son? (It sends a shiver to recall something he told Gotham: "I don't want to go out likeMarlon Brando. I want to go out like Elvis." Both icons were obsessions of this icon.)

His children's nanny and surrogate mother, Grace Rwamba, is like another daughter to me. I introduced her to Michael when she was eighteen, a beautiful, heartwarming girl from Rwanda who is now grown up. She kept an eye on him for me and would call me whenever he was down or running too close to the edge. How heartbreaking for Grace that no one's protective instincts and genuine love could avert this tragic day. An hour ago she was sobbing on the telephone from London. As a result, I couldn't help but write this brief remembrance in sadness. But when the shock subsides and a thousand public voices recount Michael's brilliant, joyous, embattled, enigmatic, bizarre trajectory, I hope the word "joyous" is the one that will rise from the ashes and shine as he once did.

Deepak Chopra will be on Larry King Live tonight to discuss the death of global pop icon Michael Jackson.


Filed under: Larry King Live • Michael Jackson


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tracy   June 26th, 2009 1:01 pm ET

zoe bano sou.Which means life on you in greek


CKelly   June 26th, 2009 1:25 pm ET

In this day and age of gossip and media hype, it is not surprising to hear that Michael Jackson's inner life was a complex reaction to existing in the harsh limelight of celebrity. We love to create our icons, market them, exploit them and place them high on a pedestal with plenty of wealth. However, once placed there, we envy their success while believing we are entitled to a piece of their lives. Under the microscope of the public eye-they fall- and we shame them. We turn our backs.

Michael Jackson was a shy, suffering man stuck in the narcissism of childhood. He was incapable of leaving it behind. The wounds of bad parenting combined with public indulgence forged the child prodigy forever. Permanently. The boy genius in the body of a man and the emotional maturity of a child..

But, he did make good adult choices too. He did good charity work, he was kind and generous to his family and friends; and he realized his gift as a musician. He made a genuine adult contribution to the music industry. He effected our culture with his talent and energy.

Deepak Chopra: Thank you for a different perspective. As enigmatic as the man was, you obviously were his friend. In real time, real life you could see Michael Jackson with your own eyes and not from the distortion of the media microscope. I doubt anyone will ever understand the truth about Michael Jackson's inner world or why he behaved as he did. At least, we can have an inner glimpse of his reality and understandable paranoia. As any adult, Michael Jackson did contribute to his negative image as much as he tried to run from the spotlight. In any event, he will be missed.


Penelope Bird   June 26th, 2009 2:34 pm ET

He was the man who changed the face of music! You look around at all these young singers and dancers and you see his influence in there music and moves. Usher, Justin Timberlake and even Weird Al used many of his songs to imitate.

He truly lived a totured life in my opinion. His childhood taken from him to make money and music for his father and family. What did we expect him to be, normal? He was far from normal but we wouldn't have loved him as much if he was just like us. He was what we needed him to be, "THE KING OF POP". We made a monster out of this ICON!

I'm reminded of an episode of SOUTH PARK when Britany Spears is gradually killed by the public, media and papparazi. How true that has been for this man we worshipped. He did everything he could to stay in our good graces from changing his apperance, marrying Elvis' only daughter and to make him even more normal, having children of his own.

I say this with all respect to this man who gave our world so much of his music and his life; it was time for you to go and be at peace. No one man could have held so much on his shoulders as he did and he did it with dignity and pride.

GOODBYE TO MY CHILDHOOD ICON! WE WILL MISS YOU MICHEAL!


Karla Berry   June 26th, 2009 2:45 pm ET

Michael Jackson crossed all ethnicity groups, it is not about "being Black or White", it is about his music and how his music affected everyone that enjoyed his voice and his dance ability. Regardless, if he was bankrupt or not, he is still a human and we must remember him and all of the positive he impacted this world with. If there is a God, he has to give an account for all his actions and who are we to judge. MJ will always be Iconic.

My prayers are with his children and family. My prayer is that the children will be priority as MJ made them priority. I am hoping that monetary influence do not affect his children, however "love" will be exhibited and the children can remember their father accordingly.

Talula


Peter Wayne   June 26th, 2009 3:22 pm ET

Deepak,

It is with deep appreciation that you took the time to share your thoughts and your relationship about Michael. I can find some relief that Michael had good friends and acquaintances such as yourself. Even the most talented and supportive people cannot help a person, unless that want to be helped.

As you touch on in your article, the world can be very unfair and abusive to our celebrities. Although millions of fans loved Michael Jackson, it only takes a minority of unscrupulous journalists to magnify and distort the truth. Not to mention the energy and resource required to manage a ravenous media. I'm sure this took a toll on Micheal, as well as does other popular entertainers.

My wish out of this is that we treat our celebrities as we would any well intentioned human, with respect, forgiveness and compassion.


kathy   June 26th, 2009 4:18 pm ET

This is a sad day for all ,Michael Jackson was a star we will never forget and it saddens me when they bring up things about his sad childhood , he passed still searching for it and now I know he is dancing and entertaining all in heaven . Larry I have a question about his kids will a DNA test be done to see if thekids are indeed his this was a big question when they first appeared to the public ?


Rose   June 26th, 2009 4:32 pm ET

Christina and Cherry Ann: I guess we should throw out the entire American Judicial system as, according to you, when a person is found innocent after a court case, they are actually guilty. Despite evidence that Michael Jackson's accusers were shown to have lied and were asking for huge amounts of money. That they made contradictory statements etc.

Why are some people so eager to see others burn in that hot, fictious place? How does that help or change anything? Stop with all the comments about heaven and hell and who will go to which destination. Be more concerned about your own self-righteous behavior and delusions of determining another person's fate.

You never know what a person may have done in his/her life to merit some form of salvation in the end.


Bonnie   June 26th, 2009 6:11 pm ET

Dear Mr. Chopra, We have heard that Michael had an intensive/extensive physical exam a few months ago for insurance purposes (for his upcoming concert tour). Would that exam have covered blood work that could have uncovered drug use / abuse?
I certainly hope that the "doctors" who contributed to his overuse of prescription drugs will be investigated. Thanks for addressing this issue.


Michelle Leggio   June 26th, 2009 6:57 pm ET

Michael Jackson was a generous man.I think he was unhappy and he only found joy in his taking care of his children and performing.I know his legacy will live on forever.His devoted fans,family and friends are the people that really knew him.


Dr. Juanita Bynum II   June 26th, 2009 9:20 pm ET

Below is the official statement of Dr. Juanita Bynum II:

Dr. Juanita Bynum II is shocked and saddened about the death of Michael Jackson

"After I got through screaming, hollering, and crying – the only thing going through my mind was that my childhood was just erased.

There are no words to express how I feel. We are the same age. We were the same age. This is unbelievable. Some of the most devastating news I have ever heard. I am weak.

My prayers go out to the entire Jackson Family and all those connected with them. Especially to Janet. My father’s death devastated me, but this just took me down."

Dr. Juanita Bynum II
****************************************************************************


Debra Sinkfield   June 26th, 2009 9:50 pm ET

Michael Jackson was and is a child of Allah, he left this body to be in Gods presence Job well done Michael I pray not to be passed by you are in a Waaayy better place my love support and admiration to his family may the lord keep you strong.


Debra   June 26th, 2009 9:53 pm ET

Michael Jackson was loved around the world by many people he had a lot of friends but yet he was still lonely. I am sadden by his sudden death. His music will live in our hearts for ever. Michael went through alot in his life and all the rumors about him I dont believe for one minute. I just wish the media would respect the fact that this man's family, friends and world in grieving for him and leave well enough alone. Even though I never met Michael I feel a real close connection to him. I am sorry for his family and I send my prayers to them it is very hard to loose a family member I can imagine what they are going through. So please stop bad mouthing Michael just remember all the good memories about him. Weather he had drug problems that is no bodys business. if all these people where so concerned with Michael and his supposely drugs then maybe you should of did something about it instead of watching him drift away .I love you and may you rest in peace and god bless your family.


Benjamin   June 26th, 2009 9:53 pm ET

Chopra is a coward. Appearing on Larry King and claiming that Michael was an addict. While I suspect this is the truth, Chopra should have said or published these words many years ago, not the day after Michael's death. These words serve no helpful purpose to Michael at this time. Chopra is a coward, and in my mind he has washed away his credibility as a spiritual writer or counselor as quickly as Michael's life ended yesterday. A portion of the blood of Michael Jackson is spattered upon Chopra.


Tasha   June 26th, 2009 9:58 pm ET

I just finished watching LKL tonight with Deepak and Miko Brando and honestly, I think Miko is a very suspicious character. He doesn't seem to answer questions straightforwardly and avoids making eye contact when discussing Michael's drug addiction. I just wanted to make that observation known; there really seems something more in what he is not saying about the circumstances around Michael's death.


oliga   June 26th, 2009 10:22 pm ET

i'm so sad about the loss of Michael Jackson, but that's how life goes, we got nothing to do about that. But I'm sure that he is now in a better place, because during his life here on earth, he experienced such a solitude, and has been victim of many false accusations. But with the generous heart he had, I'm sure that he is actually next to GOD and enjoying his new place. May God be with his familly, especially his children.


Ennaby   June 26th, 2009 10:46 pm ET

Im 51 and a life long fan of Michael's from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I was so happy to hear that he was going to perform again with his UK tour which i thought meant that he had managed to put all his troubles behind. But it was not to be. Poor Michael, I hope he has found peace at last. I never believed any of those vile allegations against him. Even my late conservative muslim parents were entertained by him and they loved his moonwalking. My mother watched his performance on TV and one day said "this boy has a pure soul". And I've always believed her.


cherirae   June 26th, 2009 10:49 pm ET

I applaud Deepak Chopra for having the courage and the integrity to address the very serious issue of physicians knowingly creating and sustaining prescription drug addiction in their patients. This has been going on for a very long time and has been the cause of thousands of strokes, liver problems, mental health problems and untimely deaths. This criminal behavior calls for an all-out campaign of exposure, education and professional consequences. These doctors are no better than the thug peddling drugs in a back alley – in fact, they are worse. The thug did not take an oath to "do no harm" and the thug does not have accountability to a professional license. We mistakenly think we are protecting the reputation of the victim by not speaking out – indeed, we would be honoring the victim by exposing their abuser. Thank you Dr. Chopra for speaking out.


gene   June 26th, 2009 10:54 pm ET

Mr. King, your handling of the discussion regarding Michael Jackson is outrageous.


Jamal   June 26th, 2009 11:14 pm ET

Mr. Chopra,

Do you need to learn how to respect and celebrate a human, Today is not the day to talk about what if, just day of remember, celebrate his legendary life and please respect what he done for millions of us (in music and in culture)

Thanks
Jamal.


Leon   June 27th, 2009 12:13 am ET

No mention in coroner's news conference of staus of Micheal"s heart, coronary arteries, pulmonary vessels or lungs (pulmonary edema or congestion.) Pulmonary congestion is generally the only finding in drug overdose. Amazing that no one even asked these questions.


Janis Wall   June 27th, 2009 12:28 am ET

Larry, going to put my two cents worth in here. Why can't the media leave Michael Jackson alone for good? I have heard some awful things being said about him today on different tv programs. Whether they be true or not Michael is not here to defend himself so we need to stop with the inflammatory comments, now.
Michael is gone and this is a time to celebrate his talent which no one will be able to duplicate, ever! I believe his intentions were to be the best person he could be even if this was misconstrued. Maybe it was his way and he showed it differently and people misunderstood. We'll never know so let's move on. Let this man rest in peace. I am sure that his family will be able to take care of their personal affairs that they have to still confront without any help from the media bottom feeders..(not you Larry, you have shown Michael respect). He has lived his life and everyone makes mistakes. None of us are above reproach. Like Lisa and others have said there will be a media frenzy happening soon. At least Michael is in a place where no one can hurt him, but can we please stop hurting the family & his closest friends. Goodnite Michael, sleep well.

Your loving fan.

Janis


Rachel   June 27th, 2009 12:58 am ET

RIGHT ON to Depok Chopra why is everyone slamming Depok???
We have a 50 year old Michael Jackson who is DEAD we have to ask why? This is Elvis all over again slimball doctors for money and celebrity being unethical and not having the integrity to stand up to those with drug addictions because they are famous.
It cost Michael his life so tell the offended like Usher and Liza to shut up!!!
Michael had many problems and enablers and now look where he is.
At least Depok had the guts to speak up!!
No one is denying Michaels awesome talent. Perhaps if he had more friends like Depok he would still be alive!!!!!


Kelly   June 27th, 2009 1:19 am ET

I sat down at the computer to comment on the Larry King show I've just been watching – specifically about comments made by Deepok Chopra; I just want him to know (does he check these things I wonder? 1st time for me to post anything, anywhere??? ((....just gotta say it either way!))....I'm so glad that he said what I know is all too true not only in Hollywood – ya know, about prescription medication being dispensed in alarming quantities and widely used. It is a phenomenon I have recently come to see in so–oo–oo many people – and I don't know pop idols or movie stars! This is happening everywhere! It takes a bit to notice that someone you have met and truly come to love as a friend (noting their sometimes unlikable behavior and maybe not wanting to be around too much but, love none the less) is addicted to narcotics – for some either legitimate or phantom pain. I don't really care which. It's local family doctor's that keep prescribing – am I smarter than them? Scary. It needs to be addressed at some regulatory level – or am I smarter than them, too! That Deepok Chopra said what he said that of course was conveyed through love and HONESTY – made it valid – that he is who he is, not a tabloid-like, sensation-seeking run of the mill but, Deepok Chopra. And, the beautiful piece that he wrote and posted about his remembrance of Michael Jackson was especially eloquent. Mahalo!


Blessing   June 27th, 2009 1:23 am ET

Michael, I love you and will miss you. I grew up on your music and today I have lost a part of my youth. May you find solace that eluded you on earth in the bossom of the Lord. Rest in peace, my friend.


Jalal   June 27th, 2009 3:06 am ET

I’m so sad for losing such an icon whose music will remain for such a looong period of time. His songs were as a tourch that made people come together.
i’m writting thoes words with eyes fill of tears for loosing my #1 artist, singer, and most of all, the angel of peace. He was as a peace dove that flew all around the world to give us 1 of the most valueable gift ever. He made us believe that music is the tourch which makes people becoming as one. he Broke the Barlin wall that kept people away from each. He broke the wall of race, skin color, language, and religion. His Songs gave us the spirit of life.
As an Arabic young man, I’m sooo proud to be 1 of his biggest fans and will never forgot the inspiration he gave me in many ways. Thanks to him, I learned English which was my key to communicate and understand other’s feeling.
I might have a lack of expressing my feelings due the vocabulary, But what i Can say is that few words wont be enough to be wirtten for such an icon. I’m speechless.

Rest In Peace Michael

You Will Be Always in our Hreat

God Bless Your Soul

THANK YOU MJ


Miriam Mclaughlin   June 27th, 2009 4:13 am ET

God Bless Michael!
I have admired his talent since 1970 and watched in amazement
when he went solo and made hit after hit. I treasure his songs,
the Jackson 5's L.P.'s.
There is now another ANGEL in heaven
Michael was born with a purpose and he lived his purpose in this
life. He will be sadly missed but never forgoten...


Meschelle Kuiper   June 27th, 2009 5:48 am ET

Michael Jackson has lived and died for me Michael was an icon, he had charisma he has transended barriers on so many levels and we should celebrate his life for that. Lets remember the good things he has done instead of dwelling on the so called negative things. He was human, he had a good heart and heaven has one more angel with a sweet melodious voice. He will dance with angels now may his soul rest in peace and may his family, friends and loved once have the strength to continue in these trying times Michael is not gone he has just moved to a higher calling


Sabrina   June 27th, 2009 6:35 am ET

It is sad that 'selling media' is primarily negative, but....Mr. Jackson was an icon in the music industry and will always be. It's disheartening that his life with so much potential and talent was so tainted. He gave all of himself to his music and his fans, and problems or not we should pray for the peace of his soul, and that family finds peace as well. Hopefully his children do not get pulled into 'devastating turmoil' in the near future, and they get the chance at happy lives; although life without your Dad will inevitably be difficult. My prayers go out to his family and friends, and I hope his children know the 'bigger father' to assist them in healing and finding the peace that promotes.


Joan Pendleton   June 27th, 2009 7:15 am ET

Why weren't there any follow up questions by Larry
King or CNN reporters to Deepak Chopra's comment that Michael Jackson had lupus? Lupus is a devastating and sometime fatal, autoimmune disease that very few Americans have any knowledge about. This disease is under the radar and deserves the same attention that cancer, MS and alzheimer's gets from the media. My guess since there is a genetic component to lupus that other members of the Jackson family suffer from it. Since lupus primarily hits women, and women of color iin their childbearing years, it's
even more the reason to draw attention to the fact that Michael suffered from it. Men have lupus too. CNN: in the midst of all the frenzy surrounding Michael's untimely and tragic death, let's see some education about lupus.


brenda   June 27th, 2009 7:31 am ET

Michael Jackson was phenomenal. Let the Jackson family has some closure. Rest in peace Michael!!!


Ms. Kamlesh Rajesham Chandy   June 27th, 2009 8:20 am ET

I am a wrtier from Hyderabad, India. I was sorely disappointed and amazed at Dr. Deepak Chopra's comment on the death of Michael Jackson. I expected Deepak to show sympathy and empathy for Michael rather than sound like he is being judgmental. After watching the show where Liza Minelli, Usher and Brando expressed their love for Michael, and with Deepak sounding off about the drug overdose of Michael and that Michael had asked him for some prescription drugs, it sounded like betrayal on Deepak's part. Whatever happened to the hypocratic oath? Is it just that? A hypocrite's oath? Terribly sorry to hear him speak that way. We all loved Michael immensely in my family. One has to overlook the flaws of a person and rise above to see the beauty of the person within. After all none of us are perfect! Let those who have not sinned, cast the first stone!


Stephanie Ventling, Switzerland   June 27th, 2009 8:42 am ET

– To Deepak, who I simultaneously translated in Zürich many years ago: Thank You for your words. Remembering your integrity backstage :- ) brings images of what backstage Buckarest must have been like – the show was on European television last night – and the combination of this extraordinary performance, the strength and the vigor combined with the complexity of all that you have described of the personal and private MJ brings a fuller understanding of shining brilliance that can touch the world and yet in its tragedy and glory remain humanly incomplete. Thank you also for turning the spotlight towards the medical and media establishment that can ruin lives as they superimpose themselves upon fellow human beings. Bravo. May all of this sharing bridge hearts and minds to an even larger one world consciousness, may MJ through his unfortunate death be an expression and a celebration that surpasses his ultimate THIS IS IT around the globe.
My blessings go to his children and family and to friends like you and your children that knew him and other close friends and people that worked with him- Stephanie


Tonnie   June 27th, 2009 11:19 am ET

Thank you for this beautiful blog. It is rare that we meet people like Michael Jackson who never said cross words about others, yet was often the target of public horror, set-ups and scrutiny. I thank God that HE leant us one of HIS brightest stars in Michael Jackson. I thank God for the love that Michael conveyd through his music, his life and his innocence about the world and mankind–yet, he was such a freedom fighter, a barrier buster and a rebel against the "norm" that you often wonder how naiive he really was. I love Michael because his music taught my students to read, to love dancing, to love the arts and to respect one another. He never swore, degraded women or used nasty words in his songs. This is an amazing fete in itself. The critics and synics of America should be in jail for damaging our society to the point that everyone's attitude is so lackluster and gray. I pray that God will send us more love just like HE did through Michael Jackson. God bless the Jackson Family, God bless America and God bless us all.


Demond   June 27th, 2009 11:29 am ET

One more thing , if Depok Chopra considers this a tribute, maybe he needs to look up the work tribute.


Judith   June 27th, 2009 12:04 pm ET

For all the good things that Micheal had in his heart, I wish that all the money that was paid by his fans to see him on tour was somehow donated to his kids and his animals. If just people could give up the refunds !
Michael wanted to leave his lost childhood during adulthood and it shows that he meant no harm to anybody..just mixed up judgments like a kid in a grown up body with all the traumas and confussions that anybody would feel.

Thank you.


Alice Dessauer   June 27th, 2009 3:28 pm ET

If MJ is known all over the universe, more so than any other person in the history of the world, i.e. on remote islands at the corners of the planet that never heard of Princess Di, or US or Soviet Presidents, but have heard MJ's music and know him.... (as I believe that he is)

If his universal language of love, dance, kindness, and joy has touched the souls of more human beings in a positive way, more so than any Pope, Mahatma Gandhi, and other religious leaders combined.....(as I believe he has)

If his 'sacrifice' as a human being to fall prey to the evils of our society, ... ruining his natural image to try to look more like a 'pleasing, attractive' person; being crushed by legal vultures and being convicted of vile crimes without palpable proof of wrong-doing....(as I believe he has); bearing all this to the world elegantly, maintaining a humble, kind soul......

Then, what might we call this person..... of infinite benevolent, world wide influence....????


TRM   June 27th, 2009 8:16 pm ET

Thank you, Deepak for a very well-written and intelligent post.
I loved MJ's dancing talent.
Penelope Bird, I don't think it's quite accurate to say that MJ invented dance and all other singers and dancers are imitating him. Maybe some are no doubt. But I mean MJ himself imitated other dancers as well. I think no one person invents dance or dance moves. I think everybody does. It's just a conglomerate.


TRM   June 27th, 2009 9:19 pm ET

Again, I loved MJ's music talent, and there were parts of his life that seemed quite dignified.
But, Penelope Bird, I don't think that changing ones face to try and look like somebody else or a different race is dignified at all. Doing that is sad, tragic, and irresponsible. Think of all the young ones who did the same thing to their faces because they were "inspired" by him.


Alicia Tennant   June 27th, 2009 9:51 pm ET

I wish we could focus on the positive and beautiful side of Michael Jackson and not the negative. None of us are perfect and the love he shared and affect he had on so many lives should be commended. After all he's been through he deserves to be respected and to rest in peace. My prayers go out to his family and children. May God strengthen them through this difficult time.


Liz   June 27th, 2009 9:58 pm ET

I think Micheal's death is a GREAT opportunity to shed light on the medical field and their responsibility in peoples' addictions. I think we can find a good balance of being respectful to MJ and his work, but also allowing his personal experiences help others where perhaps they will not follow pursuit. I did not think Deepak Chopra was putting down MJ at all.

MJ was and is an icon that is not going anywhere anytime soon. I might not respect his personal choices, but I respect the contribution he's made as an artist. I truly hope everything works out for his children.


Melissa Fiorini   June 27th, 2009 10:00 pm ET

While this may not be the time to talk about the personal issues. Rather a time to celebrate his greatness. You wonder why doctors play a hand in this. Look what happens when Dr. Chopra tries to discuss narcotic addiction and the difficulties saying no. As an ER doctor, it is very difficult to say no to the common person, banging on walls, screaming in the ED going to the right board, so that you have to spend endless amount of time answering why you did not cure their pain. If you are lucky that have such a history of drug seeking behavior in the ED that the issue gets thrown out of the window, but it makes you wonder, is it worth trying to stand up to someone who is drug seeking or do what every one else does, give them what they want and let it go. Dr. Chopra is very courageous for saying what he is saying, if the closest people to Michael could not face the problem then I find it hard to believe that a doctor hired to stay with him for a few months was going to go against the grain. Don't get me wrong, it is a tragedy and should not have happened, but understand physicians who try to stand up against anyone's addiction, do not have an easy time of it.


jessica lacey   June 27th, 2009 10:02 pm ET

michael jackson will always be remembered threw his music , he was a super singer , no one can top michael. what they should do is buy neverland and make it into another graceland . where they could visit and remember him always , and just like your song michael u are not alone . love you always , god bless your family in this hard time .


Miriam from Louisiana   June 27th, 2009 10:24 pm ET

Rest in Peace M.J.

Thank you for making this world a better place !
A peaceful, loving, giving, soulful musical genious.
You THRILLED us in so many ways.
Thank -you Mrs. Jackson, for giving us this Angel !

We'll miss you Michael...


Joyce from Missouri   June 27th, 2009 11:02 pm ET

I would just like to say I don't think it's wrong or demeaning to Micheal Jackson to talk about if drug addiction played a part in his death.I think it's brave of Mr.Chopro to speak open about it.That he had a problem in no way to me or many others deminishes his talent or the many great things he acomplished or how special he was to those who knew him personally or those of us who admired him from afar .Drug addiction is a sickness,and if it played a part in his death,talk about it,talk about it a lot ,so it doesn't keep happening,don't hide it in the shadows,if that too was a part of who he was. I'm sure when talking about Farrah,that she cancer will be spoken about,along with the other wonderful things about her.I really liked Micheal Jackson.I still like Micheal Jackson if he was a drug addict.It doesn't take anything away from him in my eyes.I just think drug addiction is a HUGE problem and should not be hidden. Thank you Mr.Chopro for having the guts to speak about it.


Pradip   June 28th, 2009 12:23 am ET

Dear Larry,

Michael Jackson is the Legend of Legends.
He showed a true meaning of acheiving in life,starting career by 11, he was already legend by 30. There are very few in the world who dont know him,even in Nepal. He is the PELE and MOHAMMAD ALI of Music Industry.
I doubt if there will be anyone like him ever in Music Industry, after Elvis and Beatles, he was the one to carry legecy of Music.
He danced, singed and performed legendarily.
His 30 odd songs are my all time favourites, I will always listen to them for life. I was really hoping to see him perform in LONDON.
The fact that he wrote most of his lyrics stun me, as I think how he managed time to write such lyrics.
M.J, I pay my full tribute to you.


Tam   June 28th, 2009 12:49 am ET

I LOVE MICHAEL JACKSON. NO, ABSOULTELY, NO OTHER MAN CAN DO OR HAS DONE WHAT HE HAS. I thank God that He gave him uncomparable talent. May God continue to bless him infinitely. He gave his ALL, no current entertainers do that to date. HE gave the current black entertainers opportunity and pathways to explore, and made white people consider blacks. Thank you Michael for being so strong!


Linda from Florida   June 28th, 2009 1:37 am ET

First, my thoughts and prayers go out to Michael Jackson's family and his close intimate friends during this difficult time. I agree with Joyce from Missouri – if in fact this was caused by an addiction to prescription drugs, it in no way takes away from Michael Jackson the man, the great artist, father, son, brother, friend, and mentor. It is evident in the response from fans to his death that there is a special love, an unconditional love. Unfortunately being in the spot light for as long as he was, opens up the discussion of his life as a whole. I agree with Deepak Chopra's comments that there is a great problem in our nation with the irresponsibility of doctors to write scripts in excess. We have seen many artist fall to this horrible addiction, but it goes far beyond the big screen. This problem is in every community in our country. Again, if his death was as a result of an addiction, my hope is that it will open up our eyes to reach out to those struggling with this horrible disease, and it is a disease, just like any other disease.


JenLC   June 28th, 2009 2:35 am ET

Right on, Ms. Kamlesh Rajesham Chandy. I like what you and quite a few others have said on this blog.

Michael Jackson was and is a bright Shining Star. I just wanted always to thank him for all that he gave, he enriched our lives with his unbelievable music, dance and sweetness of heart.

As I commented before on a couple of the other blogs here, I'll keep playing Michael's songs the rest of my life especially remembering the great times my family, friends and I had through the years listening, dancing, working and playing to his rad, sweet, rockin' music. How can even thank you be enough for all the joy this man's music has given us. I don' t know but it seems like I just have to say it. Love and prayers to all the Jacksons.


Meschelle - Netherlands   June 28th, 2009 3:28 am ET

The bible story made to life in our time and we did not even see it. Michael never lost his innocence of childhood yet we smeared him whenever we could Michael is now in heaven singing with the angels heaven is now blessed with his sweet melodious voice. He is our hero, our legend his family was blessed to have him in their lives as a son, brother, father it brings tears to my eyes when he was announcing his last tour and he says to the people "I love you, I truly do from the bottom of my heart" that wrenches my heart everytime I hear it I just wish he could have seen how much he was really loved. May his soul have eternal rest and we have the hope of heaven we will see him again once day he will be the angel with the soft, sweet melodious voice everyone will stop singing when he starts you will recognise him easily – RIP Michael


Jake Guidry, Donna Dugas, Leia Guidry, and Trent Patin   June 28th, 2009 3:56 am ET

Michael Is a Legend and an inspiration to all dancers and music lovers, and will live on forever. He will not be forgotten. Michael will never die, he and his music will live forever. There will never be any other like him. We Love You Michael!


Augustine A. Harun (from Ghana)   June 28th, 2009 11:30 am ET

MICHAEL JACKSON

Difficult to love
Yet, impossible not to love
Strange was his name
But simple to understand

His song “childhood” says it all!!!!

“Normal life” to him was denied
Leaving Him with nothing but fantasies to pursue
Yet the world never seemed to have understood him
A mystery has been left unsolved

Loneliness was the venom to swallow each moment of his life.

Inspiration was some how his hallmark
Stunning was his performance
Captivating was his voice
Incredibility was the air in his style

First to transcend race
Yet no credit was given him when he lived
Accusations and allegations threatened
Yet this Rock stood firm

Tremendous was the pressure
Expectations were extremely high
Even with a broken leg
It was needful to honor an award

Here he lies motionless
When he started with motion
Creating an undisputed trademark for himself
Yes, the moon walker never walks again

Dynamism was given life in “thriller”
A revival that had been in the industry
Originality was his performance’
And excitement coupled with fulfillments was always guaranteed

Compassion is his unique feature
And “neverland” was the product.
An iconic perfectionist he was,
A definition of the video age itself.

“We are the world” a movement that had been.

A tragic loss indeed, we witnessed
A man full of ambience
With such a diverse range of talents
Unsurpassable envious talent indeed

From his iconic look
To his incredible wonderful voice
Through his impeccable selection of stage costumes
Projecting a glorious voice and charm.

“This is it” a promise he made.
That curtain call never was fulfilled
That final curtain call would be watched by the mind eyes
Re-living “thriller” in the mind would be a privilege

“THE KING OF POP” as been immortalized in our hearts and minds

By,
Augustine A. HARUN (a.k.a zexxel)


john d   June 28th, 2009 2:41 pm ET

Thank you for speaking out, Dr Chopra, about 'enablers' and 'the shameful plethora of MDs'. More will be revealed as time goes on, but you had the courage to speak up forthrightly at this time, and I admire you for doing that.


Linda Weidkamp   June 28th, 2009 5:37 pm ET

Dr. Chopra, Thank you for your sharing your wonderful tribute to Michael. Here is my tribute as well. Michael was a very special human being & truly one-of-a-kind. Even with his handsome & boyish looks, he was an old, old loving & generous soul. His love, integrity, gentleness & caring naivete was so misunderstood by most of humanity. I'm so sorry he had to endure all that sadness, pain & complexity in this lifetime. Unfortunately, there were too many selfish & greedy leeches who took advantage of his simple & generous nature! The unscrupulous journalists/media are to blame as well! 'What goes around, comes around' as they say! To Michael, what a joyous, phenomenal, and fabulous 'ride' of our life you gave and shared with us!! Thank you for the memories of a lifetime! You will always be THE inspiration to all generations! You are now greatly missed and your legacy will live forever! May you finally rest in peace & happiness! You truly deserve it–You were and are the best!!!


Natalie   June 29th, 2009 8:08 am ET

Dr. Chopra,

Your words in your tribute to Michael Jackson on this blog speak volumes about how much you cared for him - about the depth of a friendship that was suddenly interrupted. It is a beautifully written piece, about a beautiful person who, unfortunately, was forced to leave this planet far too soon, seemingly because of actions taken against him by other people (over time).

I want to applaud you for your courage to speak up, both in your writing above, and on TV, regarding the music icon's "shameful plethora of M.D.s..." who all seem to have spastic hand movements when it comes to reaching for their prescription pads. Just because a patient wants a certain medication doesn't mean that that medication is safe for the patient to take (especially over time). By enabling an addictive personality in such manner (as you have been discussing) seems to be no less than aiding and abetting in a murder of a human being (in this case, the medicine being the killer).

I call these kinds of doctors P.O.D. (Prescription On Demand) – doctors, and they seem to be everywhere. Sometimes it even seems that they not only enable a person already succumbed to addiction, but that they even instigate addiction as well - simply by writing prescription for heavy pain killers too easily (often without the patient's request for such medication, and without even evaluating their patient's medical history, overall physical condition, mental state, or life-circumstance).

When someone has a license to drive, they have a privilege in their hand as opposed to a taken-for-granted right. Fortunately, most people seem to understand that there are certain standards that need to be met on the road every time they drive in order to keep that license.

Some doctors with the license to prescribe medications seem to think they have the right to do whatever they want with that license - regardless who they'll end up killing - as long as they have good lawyers who can get them off whatever legal issues they may tangle themselves into...

It seems to be all about the doctors - about how they can save face no matter how big a tragedy they have at hand. I have noticed that not even once since Michael Jackson's death has his physician expressed any kind of public condolence, apology, or both, to the Jackson family. Furthermore, the doctor's attorney only talks about the doctor's innocence. Not even he (the doctor's attorney) has had the decency to (at least) put on a face of mourning a death caused by his client's negligent and/or reckless behavior.

These kinds of doctors don't seem to use a fraction of a single brain cell in this regard. Don't these doctors understand that a death caused by reckless prescription-writing hurts just as much for the victim's family as a death caused by reckless driving? They can't just say "Oops...," sweep it under the rug, and move on with their lives (and probably repeat the same behavior again), while leaving others' lives - in this case large parts of the world, shattered with sorrow and anger.

It's not eggs these physicians are dropping on the floor, in an attempt to make an omelet - there are real human beings they have taken upon themselves to care for - to treat (which should include to evaluate each patient's state of mind and physique). Even though they have earned the privilege to practice medicine, are there no standards to which to hold them? Is giving a doctor the license to practice and to prescribe medications the same as giving a kid a blank check to a toy store? Are they able to do exactly what they please...? No wonder we (society as a whole) have a problem...

The problem in this case isn't Michael Jackson. He is not licensed to prescribe drugs - his doctor is. I am surprised that the doctor is not more humble, for instance - he should have been beside himself with grief and apologies - he should voluntarily have surrendered his medical license(s) and retire from the field of Medicine. Such reaction to this tragedy would have been more admirable than the pathetic way this personal physician has been acting - at least from what has been portrayed in the media.

I don't know why some doctors act with such high level of arrogance as writing prescriptions left and right seemingly without any discretionary evaluation of each individual case. Some say that these doctors, especially those regarded as the doctors to the stars in Hollywood, are weak - that they become enablers because of their own weaknesses and fears of not being liked anymore by their celebrity patients, for instance (in other words - fear of not being in the "in-crowd" anymore - of not being part of the cream, although they were just physicians anyway - they will never be stars regardless of how many star-patients they have...).

I think weakness is part of it - but the problem runs a lot deeper than that. Since this is also perceived to be a problem outside of the entertainment capital, it seems that the fundamental problem is an underlying power-issue. For some doctors (for very many, actually), writing prescriptions is their way of signaling to the world that they have power over others. Somehow it may contribute to make these doctors feel important - to feel and be viewed as they are doing something to make someone well, since society, on average, seems to think that there is a pill to pop for every ailment.

I also think there is something in the law that needs to be adjusted as well (when happy prescription-writing physicians have not learned anything from the Anna Nicole case, for instance - which left a defenseless baby motherless - and now this...). Who is the next known face to flash across TV-stations for a while with their year of birth and year of death underneath their picture? To be more specific, how many people (how many young people!) will die from careless medicating purposely administered by doctors, before something is changed legislatively that will make it harder for medical professionals to "get away with murder...?"

Dr. Chopra, I believe that you prolonged Michael Jackson's life back in 2005 when you refused to prescribe what he asked for. To say "no" like that to a friend - to confront someone's addiction in such a "head-on" manner takes courage, strength, and character, and it indicates your deep concern for your friend and your value and respect for human life. Never forget that, regardless how many who may criticize you. When you said "no" to writing that prescription, you gave Michael Jackson's children the gift of having their dad a little longer. Because, if the circumstances of the case are indeed the way they are being portrayed to the public via the various news media, I firmly believe the following: If Michael Jackson had asked someone other than you for a prescription, back in 2005, he would have have died sooner.

My prayers are with Michael Jackson's children, his parents, his siblings, and those who were his caring friends, such as yourself.

Michael Jackson was an artist of dimensions far ahead of his time - he was a musical creator and in a way he brought his own "genre" into the world. Regardless of what people might think of him as a person (a person they don't know), the quality of his entertaining is a gift left behind that the world seldom sees from one single person. His life gave us us his music. His death teaches us the value of life and the importance of utilizing all of our talents and potentials while alive.

A sidebar: A couple of days ago, I wrote a comment about this subject on this blog - I wanted to let you know how important I think this is to bring up in the media, but my comment was taken down by those who administer the blog. I don't understand why I was completely censured, because my posting was in full support of Michael Jackson, the Jackson family, and you. My comment was not negative at all - but the person posting a comment before me and the one after me - they were negative, in fact, they were nasty, and theirs are taken down. Those in charge of the blog must have misunderstood my posting, mistaken it for a negative one, or maybe not have had the chance to read it since it was (maybe too) long. I just had no idea that I would be censured by CNN for supporting 100% what one of their guests said on one of their programs... That makes me a little bit worried regarding reflecting my personal opinions about current events and expressing written words in public... However, I took the chance because I felt it was what I should do. I approached this posting a little differently than the one that was cut - I hope this one is OK.

Sincerely,

Natalie


HufstaderFamily   June 29th, 2009 1:26 pm ET

I am disapointed that our family's post was apparently(sp) taken down. Reading the blog throughout the past few days, we can see ours was not the only one.

Because we have disagreed with some of Deepak's statements, or questioned his reasonings, the powers that be removed our post. It seems only positive posts can remain up.

Because of this, please be aware CNN/ Deepak/everyone, that the comments that are up in regard to this blog post are not a true reflection of our society.

I thought CNN understood meaning of freedom of speech in America.

Or perhaps it is Deepak Chopra himself that has control over what comments appear. If so, this tell all of us so much more about this man.


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