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Unseen footage emerges showing Michael Jackson''s hair on fire in Pepsi advert that left him with painkiller addiction
July 16
Published on 17 Jul. 2009 12:27 AM IST
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Unseen footage has emerged of the moment Michael Jackson's hair was engulfed in flames when a stunt went badly wrong as he filmed an advert for drinks company Pepsi in 1984. The distressing images show the moment a pyrotechnic stunt caused Jackson's hair to set alight, and the singer continue dancing with his hair on fire as he failed to realise that anything was wrong. As a result Jackson's scalp was left severely burnt and he was prescribed painkillers to treat his agonising injuries - leading to an addiction it is alleged he never managed to kick. The footage, which surfaced on the website of Us magazine in the U.S., was filmed in Los Angeles on January 27, 1984. Three thousand fans watched as a firework display erupted behind the superstar, showering him in sparks and setting light to his hair. It shows Jackson's afro catch alight on the sixth take of the video in Los Angeles. At first, unaware of the danger, Jackson continues to dance as he sings Billie Jean. Some studio audience members said he was so calm, they thought the incident was part of the act. But seconds later dozens of assistants and stage hands reach him, and he disappeared inside the crowd as they battle to put out the flames. But by then the damage is done, and when Jackson raises his head a large bald patch, with the skin badly scorched, can be seen. When he received the burns 25 years ago Jackson was at the height of his career, but the accident had disastrous consequences. To relieve the second and third-degree burns on his scalp and body, and later to help him tolerate multiple surgeries on the scorched spot on his head, Jackson was prescribed several medications. By the time he died last month it was claimed that the star was spending up to £30,000 a month on prescription drugs. The website TMZ, which broke the news of Jackson's death, reports that the initial police investigation pinpointed the anesthesic Propofol as the primary cause of death. Vials of Propofol were found in Jackson's home after he died. The website also revealed that the 50-year-old's death is now being treated as homicide by LA police.

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