ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
The singer Michael Jackson has been rushed to the hospital in Los Angeles today. NPR's confirmed that. According to other media reports, the singer was found at his home not breathing. Paramedics performed CPR there. NPR's Carrie Kahn has covered Michael Jackson's career and his legal troubles.
And, Carrie, at this point, what do we know?
CARRIE KAHN: As you said, we have confirmed that he was transported to a local hospital, and a Los Angeles Fire Department official told the Los Angeles Times that he was not breathing at the time that paramedics came to his L.A. home, and they did perform CPR and took him to UCLA. The L.A. Times is also, at this time, reporting that Michael Jackson is in a coma, and there's a small crowd gathering around - in front of the UCLA Medical Center, and police are keeping them back now.
SIEGEL: Michael Jackson was actually preparing for a tour. It was intended to be a comeback.
KAHN: It was. This would have been his first extended tour concert run. In 12 years, he hasn't performed. And these were 50 concerts that were sold out, and they were going to be performed in London. And some had said this could be, you know, his chapter, or it could be one of pop music's great comebacks. And the promoters of this concert said it was going to be nothing like we've ever seen before, of course, and that the production budget for it was north of $20 million. And he had been in the L.A. area preparing for that concert.
SIEGEL: Let's talk a little bit about Michael Jackson, who was colossally popular in the 1980s, but he's also had some very serious legal troubles and financial troubles over the years. It really hasn't been an easy life.
KAHN: It hasn't. I think we've heard most of - a lot of his troubles over the years. It was in the early '90s that he was first accused of child molestation, and accusations came out. He was not criminally charged at that time, but there was, you know, many, many things that came out in the interim. He was married twice. He fathered three children, one through an anonymous surrogate. And one of his children is famously referred to as Blanket.
In 2005, he was tried for child molestation, but he was acquitted on those sexual abuse charges and then became a - pretty much a recluse and moved to Bahrain. You didn't hear much about him until recently. He had been showing up in the Los Angeles area, and there was this very much touted auction of all of his stuff from his famed Neverland estate north of Santa Barbara. It was going to be a huge thing. But with all of Michael Jackson's endeavors, there were always legal troubles. There were suits and countersuits on whether that option would happen. And in the end, it was called off, but you could come and see all of his amassed fortunes at the Beverly Hilton Hotel for the entrance price of $20. And…
SIEGEL: And again - yes, go ahead, Carrie.
KAHN: It's just part of his notorious behavior, here.
SIEGEL: Well, again, the news today is that Michael Jackson, the singer, was rushed today to the hospital. Is it - did you just say to UCLA Medical Center?
KAHN: He's in the UCLA Medical Center, and according the Los Angeles Times, they are reporting that he is in a coma.
SIEGEL: And we'll follow the story and tell you what we learn as we do. Thank you, Carrie.
KAHN: You're welcome.
SIEGEL: That's NPR's Carrie Kahn, talking to us from NPR West.
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