Michael Jackson was so pale and skeletal in the days leading up to his 2009 death his beating heart was visible through his skin, a court has heard.
The King of Pop's longtime make-up artist Karen 'Turkle' Faye made the revelation on Friday as she testified on behalf of the singer's mother, Katherine Jackson, in her wrongful death lawsuit against AEG Live bosses, the concert promoters behind his doomed This Is It shows in London.
She recalled being in the superstar's private quarters backstage at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where he was busy rehearsing for his residency, in late June, 2009, when costumer Michael Blush burst into the room after viewing Jackson's bare chest.
Faye told the Los Angeles County Superior Court, "He said, 'Oh my God, Turkle, I could see Michael's heart beat through the skin in his chest.' It was like, 'Oh my God!' He was pretty much in shock."
The 60-year-old witness, who helped to prepare her former boss' body for his casket, then fought back tears as she remembered how she had been asked to "help retouch" film footage of Jackson for the posthumous concert documentary, This Is It, in an apparent move to cover up signs of his ailing health.
She rejected the job and explained to jurors, "It was a lie. I didn't want a lie. Everybody was lying after he died, (saying) that Michael was well. Everybody knew that he wasn't. I felt retouching Michael was just a part of that lie."
Faye's testimony backed up claims made by choreographer Alif Sankey, who told the court on Wednesday that she had expressed serious concerns about the King of Pop's health weeks before his passing after he appeared thin and unprepared for the demands of the 50 gigs that were fast approaching. She never received a reply to her emailed concern, which had been sent to tour director Kenny Ortega.
Jackson's mother is suing AEG Live bosses for billions, claiming they were negligent in ignoring her son's life-threatening health issues and blaming them for hiring Dr. Conrad Murray, who is serving time behind bars for administering the fatal dose of Propofol that killed the King of Pop, as her son's physician.
The trial continues.