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5 Questions That Still Linger After Michael Jackson's Death

Why did the coroner's office perform two autopsies?

A coroner performs autopsies to figure out why and how a person died. They aren't performed on everyone. They're done to determine the cause of death when an otherwise healthy person dies unexpectedly. Immediate family members can also request one.

Michael Jackson's body underwent two autopsies: the first to determine why a seemingly healthy Jackson suffered cardiac failure and the second at the request of his family.

Let's look at the timeline of events:

  • Jackson was pronounced dead on June 25, 2009.
  • His first autopsy was performed on June 26, 2009, by the L.A. County coroner's office, but the complete report would not be available until weeks later, after the results of pathology, forensics and toxicology studies arrived. The coroner's initial report did determine that there was no foul play.
  • Because of the uncertainty surrounding his cause of death, and that they suspected foul play, Jackson's family had a private autopsy conducted.
  • The family received the second autopsy report on June 27, 2009. It was similar to the initial report of the coroner's office.

The coroner's office released a report on Aug. 19, 2009, which determined Jackson died of acute propofol intoxication (an overdose of the anesthetic propofol), combined with other sedatives in his system.