Jackson Was “In Terrific Shape” During Performance Days Before His Death

Jun. 30 2009, Published 6:01 a.m. ET

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Noted Grammy producer Ken Ehlrich told that Michael Jackson was in “terrific shape” when he performed at a dress rehearsal the same week of his sudden passing. Ehrlich – who had worked with Jackson in the past – sat for one hour watching the superstar on stage.

“Michael was in terrific shape and there was no evidence that he was struggling at the Staples Center,” he said. “I was sitting right in the middle of the arena and I watched him perform around six or seven songs. He was still learning the steps and the moves with the other dancers but he looked very comfortable with what he was doing.”

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He also dispelled any notions that Jackson was unable to handle the fifty date concert schedule which was due to start next month in London. 

“Both the show’s director Kenny Ortega and choreographer Travis Payne were on stage with him and from what I could see what we were watching was like the Michael of old and he was on top of what he was doing,” Ehlrich continued. “Obviously, Michael was such a perfectionist.”

“He was doing some singing too and wasn’t taking long pauses before starting another song or dance routine.”

Following Jackson’s death on June 25  there was speculation that the pressure of doing fifty dates in London would have been too much for the fragile performer. From his time with Jackson in the icon’s final days, the veteran producer saw a performer ready and capable of handling the load.

“In my opinion he was absolutely ready for the London concerts and I was very optimistic from what I saw that night that he would put on a great show,” he added. “Michael seemed to be enjoying himself while fine-tuning the dance routines in what I would say was more of a production rehearsal for him.”


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