It was to be Michael Jackson's first concert series in a dozen years, billed as one of the greatest comebacks of all time. When Jackson himself arrived in London to announce his tour, no one dreamed that in less than four months, the King of Pop would be dead.
Jackson's sudden, unexpected death raised suspicions and questions that still linger today, a year after his death.
As the entertainer's personal physician awaits trial on manslaughter charges for allegedly administering the overdose of intravenous and prescription medications that killed him, those who knew Jackson and spent time with him in the months before his death disagree about his state of mind.
Some say Jackson was happier than he'd been in years. Meanwhile, others paint a picture of a man whose health was unraveling, worsened by a severe addiction to prescription drugs, including the intravenous anesthetic propoful, reportedly to combat chronic insomnia.
Propofol is normally only used in hospital settings with a trained anesthesiologist who monitors the patient's heart rate and breathing continually while they are unconscious during surgery. Propofol can trigger cardio-respiratory effects that are potentially fatal.
"This is way off the chart,'' said Vesna Maras, a former Los Angeles deputy district attorney. "This, this is not even FDA-approved for insomnia. It is not a sleep aid. You look at what is this stuff? It's an anesthetic agent that is used to put somebody under, basically knock them unconscious. So in other words, it would be like using a hammer to kill an ant."
What follows is some of what is known about the final days and hours of Jackson's life.
The documentary "This is It," just released on DVD, provides a roadmap of Jackson's last days as he prepared for his tour.
At first glance he seemed confident and in control.
"I gotta cue that ... that shouldn't trigger on its own,'' said Jackson, still lithe and youthful at 50, in footage of a concert rehearsal.
A famous perfectionist, Jackson "was not going to settle,'' said Travis Payne, the show's choreographer. "He wouldn't allow any of us to settle."
"I think he was happier than he had been in years."
Jackson's former manager, Frank DiLeo, told ABC News: "I saw a guy that wanted to perform. But he wanted to do it right. And he was strong enough. He was working out every day. If he wasn't healthy, if there was something wrong, I would have stopped him. No. There was nothing to stop."
But DiLeo and other concert executives were concerned that Jackson was losing weight and not sleeping. "He said he wasn't sleeping," said DiLeo. "And I said to him, 'Well, what seems to be the problem?' 'Well, I'm just excited. You know, I'm all wound up.'"
"We were concerned," said Randy Phillips, the show's promoter. "I hired someone whose job it was to be sure that he eats... [Director Kenny Ortega] would cut Jackson's chicken breast for him, and say, 'Eat! Eat!'"
On Easter 2009, registered nurse Cherilyn Lee said Jackson had called her, frantically begging for propofol, the intravenous anesthetic, saying he needed it to sleep.
"He said, 'Find me an anesthesiologist. I don't care how much money they want,'" Lee recounted.