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Coroner says Michael Jackson died from lethal dose of propofol

By Chris Baltimore

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Pop star Michael Jackson died from a lethal dose of the powerful anesthetic propofol, according to findings by the Los Angeles chief medical examiner unsealed in court documents in Houston on Monday.

Jackson suffered cardiac arrest and died on June 25 at age 50. Since then, an investigation by state and federal agencies have focused on Conrad Murray, Jackson's personal doctor who was at his side the day he died.

"The Los Angeles Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner, Dr. Sathyavagiswaran, indicated that he had reviewed the preliminary toxicology results and his preliminary assessment of Jackson's cause of death was due to lethal levels of propofol (diprivan)," according to a warrant to search Murray's offices issued by California.

The document was released by the Harris County District Clerk in Houston, where Murray has an office. U.S. agents raided the office on July 22.

In an affidvit seeking the warrant, Houston police officer E.G. Chance said U.S. agents had gathered "items constituting evidence of the offense of manslaughter that tend to show that Dr. Conrad Murray committed the said criminal offense."

Murray's attorney, Ed Chernoff, was not available to comment.

Murray, who was in Jackson's personal bedroom on June 25 administering drugs to ease the pop star to sleep, administered a wide range of drugs to Jackson before he died, including a 25-milligram dose of propofol via an intravenous drip at 10:40 a.m. PDT, the state search warrant said.

Jackson was "very familiar" with propofol and referred to it as his "milk" because of its milky appearance, the warrant said.

In the early hours of June 25, Murray also gave Jackson doses of Valium, ativan, and versed, the filing said.

Jackson went to sleep after Murray administered the propofol, and Murray stayed by his side for about 10 minutes and then left "to go to the restrooom and relieve himself," the search warrant said.

Murray was out of Jackson's room for about 2 minutes and when he returned, Jackson was no longer breathing, the warrant said.

(additional reporting by Alex Dobuzunski in Los Angeles)

(Reporting by Chris Baltimore; Editing by Eddie Evans)

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