As the horrifying newly released images of Michael Jackson's head engulfed in flames during a 1984 Pepsi commercial shoot get replayed on television and the Internet, a friend who was there that day said he's not convinced the accident kicked off a lifetime of addiction for the pop icon.
"It's hard to say," Miko Brando, a Jackson friend and son of the late actor Marlon Brando, told "Good Morning America." "Yes, it was an accident. Yes, he took medicine. Yes, the doctors gave him medicine."
But Brando said to conclude that this incident triggered the alleged addiction and the prescription painkillers Jackson was said to be taking at the time of his death is pure speculation.
Jackson died June 25 at the age of 50, apparently of cardiac arrest.
Final toxicology results from the autopsy could be completed by Friday.
Brando appears on the never-been-released footage of the Pepsi accident, obtained by Us Weekly, rushing to Jackson's aid several seconds after the pyrotechnics were fired and engulfed the singer.
"I remember being stage left, watching him rehearse that particular segment," Brando said, saying he saw Jackson's hair burst into flames and thought, "Oh my God, my friend is on fire."
Backup dancer Daryl Maze, who also can be seen in the raw footage coming to Jackson's aid said others saw Jackson's hair catch fire before the singer knew what had happened.
"He didn't know that his hair was on fire," he told "Good Morning America," " but I looked back and I saw it and that's why I ran back to go to him."
And after seeing the damage to Jackson's head and face, everyone else on the set wondered what that type of injury would mean for the King of Pop.
"When this happened it just changed the whole atmosphere of the shrine, changed the whole atmosphere, everyone is like, 'Oh god,'" Maze said. "You don't know if he is going to be OK or not."
While Jackson would go on to sell millions more albums and enchant fans around the world, many said that day set the stage for a lifetime of prescription drug abuse.
Nearly a decade later, Jackson admitted in a video statement that he had entered rehab after getting hooked on the medication meant to ease his pain while he healed from the burns.
"This medication was initially prescribed to treat excruciating pain I suffered after recent reconstructive surgery on my scalp," he said in 1993.
Brando said he took Jackson to his doctors' appointments and said the singer did what he was told during his recovery.
"There was nothing out of the ordinary that he did," Brando said. "It was done by the book."
But Brando said he never once saw the evidence of drug abuse that many have pointed to in the two weeks since Jackson died, including track marks on his arms and legs, reportedly from intravenous prescription drug use.
"He was a friend of mine," Brando said. "I didn't inspect him every day."
Jackson's reported drug addiction, Brando said, is "their opinion, not my opinion."
Investigators removed several prescription drugs from Jackson's rented Holmby Hills mansion after his death, including the powerful sedative propfol, commonly used in operating rooms. Other drugs confiscated included the painkillers OxyContin and Demerol.
As speculation and rumor mounts about Jackson's final days, Brando said he hopes his friend will be remembered for his caring spirit and his devotion to his friends and family.