Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Jackson's public viewing set amid speculation on cause of death

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- More than two dozen television satellite trucks lined the narrow, two-lane road leading to Neverland Ranch early Wednesday, jostling to reserve space for a public viewing of pop icon Michael Jackson's body that won't happen for two more days.
A law enforcement official told CNN that Jackson's body will be taken to the ranch, north of Santa Barbara, California, on Thursday in preparation for viewing Friday. The family plans a private service Sunday.

While the question of what killed Jackson went unanswered pending toxicology results, a claim by a nutritionist who said she worked with Jackson fanned speculation Tuesday.

Cherilyn Lee, a registered nurse, told CNN that Jackson suffered from severe insomnia and pleaded for the powerful sedative Diprivan, despite knowing its harmful effects.

"I told him this medication is not safe," Lee said. "He said, 'I just want to get some sleep. You don't understand. I just want to be able to be knocked out and go to sleep.'

"I told him -- and it is so painful that I actually felt it in my whole spirit -- 'If you take this, you might not wake up.'"

CNN could not independently verify whether Lee worked with Jackson. Lee said she had not seen Jackson take the drug.
When asked about Lee's account, Jackson family attorney Londell McMillan said:

"I wonder why someone would make a comment about drugs when they haven't seen him take the drug or anyone who administered it."

Lee's claims were among several developments Tuesday as fans across the globe continued to mourn Jackson, five days after 50-year-old singer went into cardiac arrest.

A will from Jackson written in 2002 surfaced, but it may be one of several, McMillan said. Until now, the Jackson family has said it had not seen one.

Jackson's hometown of Gary, Indiana, angled to have its favorite son buried there, and planned a massive memorial service at a local ballpark for July 10.

And in New York, thousands lined the streets, standing eight to 10 abreast for 10 blocks in the heat, outside Harlem's Apollo Theater, the hall that helped launch Jackson's career.

"We left our house at 4 o'clock in the morning and got here at 9, and we were lucky to get here," said Angela Staples, who came to New York from Pennsylvania with her daughter, Jasmine.

Distressing phone call

Four days before the singer's death, Lee said she received a call from a Jackson staff member. The staffer said the singer felt that one side of his body was cold, the other hot.

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