Did Fans Play a Role in Michael Jackson's Death?

Fans mourn Michael Jackson in 2009 in Detroit. (Getty Images)
Fans mourn Michael Jackson in 2009 in Detroit. (Getty Images)

Amid the spectacle of Dr. Conrad Murray's trial involving the death of Michael Jackson, Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley wonders aloud if fans played a role in the star's untimely death. She says that admirers pushed him to be bigger when he was already the greatest.


When Jackson announced that he would do 50 straight concerts in London, it was like a piece of science fiction. He looked like he weighed 90 pounds. His wig was as big as his jacket. My first thought was: That could kill him. And we looked the other way.

When he was rehearsing relentlessly, and video leaked of a stick figure in a gray coat singing some of the most enduring pop songs of the past 20 years, we looked the other way.


So when the singer, dancer, songwriter, musician and king of pop was rushed out of his rented Los Angeles mansion, filled with the mixture of drugs he used to make us happy, we looked the other way — for someone to blame. 

… But we need to remember that we were counting the days until the 50-show circus. Would we have done something differently had we known he was killing himself to make us happy?

Yes, Conrad Murray is on trial. But each of us should look in the mirror and demand just a little less than death from our stars, especially those who place our approval above their own lives. 

Read Rochelle Riley's entire column at the Detroit Free Press.

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