As it turned out, Ross, who had been staying at Tuscon's ritzy Canyon Ranch, had a blood alcohol level that was nearly triple the state limit of .08. In February 2003, she was convicted of driving under the influence and sentenced to two days in jail, a year of probation and fines in excess of $800.
By all accounts, Ross was a good mother to her five children. She has three daughters with first husband and music business manager Robert Silberstein -- Rhonda, Tracee and Chudney Silberstein -- and two sons, Ross and Evan Naess, by second husband Arne Naess, a Norwegian multimillionaire.
Rhonda, however, did not learn until the age of 13, that her birth father is actually Berry Gordy, Ross' Motown boss.
The aspiring jazz singer told the New York Post in 1994 that she was shocked to learn the news. Gordy had always been a friend of the family and kept in touch with her.
"I've known him forever as a friend of the family. But we always did have a special relationship -- even before I knew he was my dad," she told the Post.
Jackson and Ross also had a special relationship, one of the most important in his life. Jackson idolized Ross, and some have said he even tried to emulate her.
Over the years, Jackson has had his obsessions with "it girls," including Elizabeth Taylor, Brooke Shields and Princess Diana. But Ross was always his idol. The two became close after Jackson signed on with Motown as a child.
When Jackson made his solo debut in 1971, he did it on one of Ross' TV specials.
In a 1981 Diana Ross TV special, Ross brought out Jackson's shy demeanor, teasing him about being "very sexy."
"You are embarrassing me," he replied, laughing.
They were so close, in fact, that some have even speculated that Jackson's plastic surgeries were done to make him look like Ross.
"Whether that was purposeful on his part has never been explained by M.J. when he was alive or anyone close to him. Certainly the parallel in their appearance was marked," said J.D. Heyman, assistant managing editor of People magazine.
Ross has yet to speak publicly on the death of her good friend, but she issued a statement shortly after he died.
"I can't stop crying, this is too sudden and shocking. I am unable to imagine this," she said. "My heart is hurting. I am in prayer for his kids and the family."
Jackson's infatuation with Ross began when they first met at Motown. She was the glamorous star of the Supremes, he was a 9-year-old performing prodigy.
Though it's been said that she discovered Jackson and his brothers, the Jackson 5, it was actually Gladys Knight and the Pips, another Motown act, who first saw them perform at the Regal Theater in Chicago and tried to get them an audition with Motown founder Berry Gordy. Motown artist Bobby Taylor got them the audition. But when the press release announcing the hot new group came out in 1969, it said Ross, the label's biggest star, had discovered the group while on tour.
Jackson played along with it. In an interview at the age of 10, he said, "I thought I was going to be an old man before being discovered, but along came Miss Diana Ross to save my career."
Jackson idolized Ross, according to biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli, who has written books about both superstars.
In his book, "Call Me Miss Ross," he wrote that Ross said, "I was older. He kind of idolized me and wanted to sing like me."
Some would say he even wanted to be her.