Michael Jackson passed away a year ago today. He was 50. The year that followed has marked a celebration of his life, invigorating legions of fans old and new.
The past 12 months have also made clear that his life was as unusual as his career was successful. Personally and professionally, the icon truly had no peers.
Only Lady Gaga topped Michael Jackson in albums sold in 2009, an indication of his legacy. But the tragic, bizarre details of his demise are equally noteworthy.
On top of the immediate causes of his death, and the role of Dr. Conrad Murray, are lingering questions about how a star so bright fell so far from his past glory.
When it comes to Michael Jackson, truth is stranger than fiction. Here’s a look back at some of the scandals and stories THG has covered since June 25, 2009:
R.I.P. Michael Jackson (1958-2009).
June 26, 2009: The coroner rules there was no foul play. More than six months later, however, Dr. Conrad Murray would face involuntary manslaughter charges.
June 30, 2009: Tabloids first report that Jackson’s friend, Dr. Arnold Klein, is actually the biological father of his two older children, Prince and Paris Jackson.
July 6, 2009: On the eve of Jackson’s memorial service, U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) decries society for glorifying MJ, who he calls a pedophile child molester.
July 7, 2009: MJ;s star-studded memorial service packs L.A.’s Staples Center and draws tens of millions of TV viewers; Paris Jackson’s tears steal the show.
July 8, 2009: Bill O’Reilly likens Michael to O.J. Simpson.
July 13, 2009: La Toya Jackson says MJ was murdered.
July 24, 2009: Investigators formally begin looking into Dr. Murray’s actions, specifically whether he injected Michael with the powerful anesthetic Propofol.
July 27, 2009: Omer Bhatti’s mom may also be Blanket’s mom; Kai Chase and Grace Rwaramba both give interviews regarding the late singer’s final days.
August 1, 2009: Debbie Rowe, the mother of Paris and Prince, is not involved at all. But she’s the subject of so many bogus rumors, she files huge lawsuits.
August 9, 2009: Michael’s friend Mark Lester says he might be Paris’ dad.
August 24, 2009: Prince Michael Malachi Jet Jackson claims he’s MJ’s son.
August 31, 2009: Blanket’s mother is now rumored to be an unnamed Mexican nurse named Helena, and his father is rumored to be Macaulay Culkin.
September 2, 2009: Paris gets a haircut; Security collects DNA evidence.
October 22, 2009: Numerous parties, including Michael’s shady father Joe, question the legal validity of the singer’s will, which is nevertheless ruled valid.
October 28, 2009: Michael Jackson’s This Is It, a documentary of rehearsal footage of the superstar preparing for a tour that never was, his theaters.
November 1, 2009: An alleged autopsy photo is leaked, its validity questionable.
Michael and Janet Jackson were very close.
November 18, 2009: Janet Jackson gives her first interviews since her brother died, saying her family was not naive and tried to intervene many times.
December 22, 2009: Jackson’s FBI file is released, and as weird as you think.
January 8, 2010: The LAPD concludes its investigation into Jackson’s death.
February 1, 2010: The Grammy Awards honor Michael, with Prince, Paris and Blanket on hand to receive an award on his behalf and make him proud.
February 2, 2010: Murray is officially charged with involuntary manslaughter.
February 8, 2010: Katherine Jackson calls Murray a monster and says MJ’s death was not natural; Joe and La Toya say the charges aren’t enough.
February 9, 2010: Michael’s autopsy is released, and as weird as you think.
February 17, 2010: The timeline of Michael Jackson’s death becomes a point of contention between the prosecution and Dr. Conrad Murray’s defense.
March 2, 2010: One of Jermaine Jackson’s kids, also living under the roof of Katherine Jackson, buys a stun gun and tries to taser poor little Blanket.
March 15, 2010: Omer Bhatti reportedly tells Michael’s kids that HE is their father now; Other reports circulate that the kids are living in utter chaos.
April 4, 2010: Murray’s defense strategy is outlined, and fairly simple: Michael Jackson killed himself with Propofol when Murray left to use the can.
BAD DOC: Will Conrad Murray be held accountable?
April 7, 2010: Murray reportedly refuses a plea deal, claiming that Jackson was an addict who would “push the line” and do anything to get his way.
May 3, 2010: Jason Pfeiffer alleges a gay affair with Michael Jackson; Arnold Klein backs him up; Both face death threats and widespread ridicule.
May 14, 2010: Elizabeth Taylor defends her old friend, lambasting Klein.
June 14, 2010: Joe Jackson blames Katherine for Michael’s death, while also filing a lawsuit against promoter AEG for pushing his son too hard.
June 21, 2010: Katherine, the children’s legal guardian, says they have no friends, but are going to a real school this fall, and are generally happy.
June 23, 2010: Joe claims Conrad Murray was drinking at a strip club before treating Michael on that fateful day; The doc calls this pure nonsense.