Michael Jackson death: conspiracy theories and unanswered questions
Michael Jackson's death left the internet awash with conspiracy theories and speculation while genuine questions about the cause remained.
By John Bingham
26 Jun 2009
Even before it became clear that the singer had died there were suggestions of fakery and intrigue surrounding reports of his collapse.
When news that Michael Jackson had been taken to hospital after going into cardiac arrest emerged, Perez Hilton, the Hollywood blogger, pronounced himself "dubious" saying that he had pulled a "similar stunt" when he was getting ready for a big appearance in 1995.
The posting, which suggested that the star was "dragging his heels" over the 50 performance residency planned at the 02 arena, was taken down from the site.
But even after his death had been confirmed, postings from the public continued to insist that he might not have died.
Bizarre claims that other celebrities had also died began to circulate including rumours – quickly debunked – that Harrison Ford had gone missing from a yacht or that Matt Damon had died in a car or plane crash.
Early theories posted on internet forums included the suggestion that Michael Jackson had faked his death and pocketed money from his upcoming comeback performances to solve his financial difficulties.
A message on digitalspy read: "Millions in debt and realises that he can't deliver on a 50 gig comeback tour, so he fakes his death, assumes a new identity (which he's been trying to achieve for many years) and disappears?"
One posting on Twitter suggested that the original internet report that the star was dead had been wrong but that he had been "covertly" killed because a "media bandwagon" had already got out of control.
Another internet posting suggested that he had been killed by a new "experimental bio weapon".
It is not the first time that the web has carried rumours and gossip about Michael Jackson's death.
Claims that the singer's decomposed body had been found at his Neverland ranch and that an impostor had taken his place circulated four years ago but originated from a spoof story on the satirical site The Onion.
Aside from the more outlandish theories about Michael Jackson's death there was genuine debate about the cause.
Internet news reports questioned why his personal doctor had been with the singer at his home but had been unable to help him and why reports of the singer's death took so long to confirm.
The main theory was that his collapse stemmed from an over reliance on prescription painkillers after sustaining a series of injuries in rehearsal.
Meanwhile Uri Geller, a friend of Michael Jackson, blamed stress.