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.
Lee said she warned Jackson. "Michael...I love you as family," she said she told him. "I would not give this to anyone. This is not a safe medicine. Please don't take this."
"And I said, 'The problem with you telling me you want to be "knocked out"' -- those are his word,-- 'is that you might not wake up the next morning.' I mean the last end result of this is death. I said, 'You don't want to do this.' He said, 'No, my doctor said it's safe. It works quick and it's safe. As long as somebody is here to monitor me and wake me up, I'm going to be OK.'"
On June 21, Lee received a foreboding call from a Jackson aide. Lee said Jackson's aide told her the singer needed to see her right away.
"I could hear Michael in the background: 'Tell her. Tell her that one side of my body is hot, is hot, and one side of my body is cold, it's very cold,'" Lee said. "And I said, 'tell him he needs to go to the hospital.'
"I knew that somebody had given him something that hit that central nervous system," she said. "He was in trouble."
The concert executives were concerned that Jackson was losing weight and not sleeping. "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!'"
"We saw Michael Jackson deteriorating,'' Harvey Levin of TMZ said. "He looked increasingly frail. It was pretty clear, something was wrong.
Several times a week during rehearsals for "This Is It," Jackson visited the Beverly Hills office of his longtime dermatologist and close friend Dr. Arnold Klein, staying for hours at a time, reportedly to sleep.
"He was not in terrible pain when I saw him,'' Klein said. "He danced in the office, and he danced for my patients."
But Jackson was also in the care of another physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, a Las Vegas and Houston cardiologist. Murray was the singer's personal physician and had been treating him for insomnia. Jackson had insisted the concert promoters hire Murray to care for him during "This Is It" -- paying him $150,000 a month.
According to police documents, on June 22, Murray said he tried to wean Jackson from propofol, giving him half the dose he normally would, just 25 mg, along with another sedative and an anti-anxiety drug. It was enough to put Jackson to sleep.
Dancers from the show say Jackson was in great form for rehearsal. "He was so full out and incredible on stage,'' said Tyne Stecklein. "He was amazing."
That night, Murray says he gave Jackson only Ativan and Versed, but no propofol. Jackson fell asleep.
Jackson's final rehearsal, which stretched into the next day, went well and the singer left "excited and ecstatic,'' said Payne, the choreographer.
"We all had goose bumps,'' said Phillips, the promoter. "I had never seen such exultation in the cast and crew."