LARRY KING: Doctor, how did you first meet Michael?
DR. ARNIE KLEIN, MICHAEL JACKSON'S DERMATOLOGIST: I met Michael because someone had brought him into my office. And they walked into the room with Michael. And I looked one -- took one look at him and I said you have lupus erythematosus. Now, this was a long word.
KING: Lupus?
KLEIN: Lupus, yes. I mean, because he had red -- a butterfly rash and he also had severe crusting you could see on the anterior portion of his scalp. I mean I always am very visual. I'm a person who would look at the lips of Mona Lisa and not see her smile. I would see the lips.
KING: Was he there because of that condition?
KLEIN: He was there only because a very close friend of his had told him to come see me about the problems he had with his skin. Because he was -- he had severe acne, which many people...
KING: Oh, he did?
KLEIN: Yes, he did. And many people made fun of him. He used to remember trying to clean it off and he'd gone to these doctors that really hurt him very much. And he was exquisitely sensitive to pain.
So he walked into my office. He had several things wrong with his skin. So I said -- and you have thick crusting of your scalp and you have some hair loss.
He says, well, how do you know this?
I said, because it's the natural course of lupus. So I then did a biopsy. I diagnosed lupus. And then our relationship went from there.

Transcript of testimony of Debbie Rowe, Dr Klein's former assistant and Michael Jackson´s ex wife, regarding to Lupus, Vitiligo and other health problems from Katherine Jackson v AEG live trial, August 15th 2013.


"And the lupus, why he didn't just come out more clearly and say that was the problem, I'm not sure. But I know it was something that bothered him a lot."

Gotham Chopra, son of Deepak Chopra, who is a spiritual author and Michael´s friend



Lupus is achronic autoimmune disease where the body's immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissue. This results in symptoms such as inflammation, swelling, and damage to joints, skin, kidneys, blood, the heart, and lungs. Photosensitivity is a common feature of lupus erythematosus.

Patients with discoid lupus have a version of the disease that is limited to the skin. It is characterized by a rash that appears on the face, neck, and scalp, and it does not affect internal organs. Less than 10% of patients with discoid lupus progress into the systemic form of the disease, but there is no way to predict or prevent the path of the disease.

There is currently no cure for lupus, nor has there been a new drug to treat the disease in the last 50 years, although there are a number of new drugs currently being researched or in clinical trials. However, early diagnosis and proper medical treatment can significantly help control the disease and its symptoms. Treating lupus effectively consists of minimizing symptoms, reducing inflammation and pain, helping maintain normal function, and preventing serious complications.


Michael Jackson was spotted with one of the trademark symptoms of Lupus, the "butterfly rash", in 1983 and 1984. 

Exposure to sunlight or artificial UV rays can aggravate lupus symptoms. This explains why, in the late 80s, he started carrying around umbrellas.

Read more about Lupus & sun exposure here:

But even before, in 1977, MJ had a pneumothorax relating to pleurisy, which is the biggest lung related symptom of lupus. He wrote about the incident in his biography Moonwalk. And here is newspaper statement from his father Joseph:


His autopsy report confirmed the the lung problems, his lungs was reported as being chronically inflamed with a reduced capacity. Full autopsy report: Even in Dr Murray’s medical notes for MJ, he made note of the pleurisy and states that Michael was coughing up blood in March 2007. From Murrays 2011 trial, where the notes was shown:


In the autopsy report, it was also stated that Prednisone, which is one of the most common drugs used for treating lupus, was found in his house. Prednisone was prescribed two months before his death and he had taken all the prescribed dosage. This is the same time period, where it seems Murray first began using propofol. Insomnia is one the side effects of Prednisone, so part of his sleeping problems may have involved the use of this drug.


Down below are official medical document from his accident from 1984 where he suffered scalp burns. It states that he had recent diagnosis of discoid lupus erythematosus with scalp flakiness and previous scalp infection. Under past medical history you can find that he took 2 prescribed medications: Plaquenil and Atabrine. Those are anti-rheumatic drugs that are indicated in the treatment of discoid and subcutaneous lupus erythematosus:




One of Michael´s long time physicians was Dr. Allan Metzger, a lupus specialist rheumatologist (who is also mentioned in the documents above). 

He went with MJ on his HIStory tour in 1996/1997. 

On October 1st 2003 they both attended and gave a brief speech together, at an Evening of Love, Light and Laughter, a benefit for Lupus LA and Lupus Research at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.




Another Lupus expert, Dr. Robert Lahita, was on GMA on July 9th, 2009. He talked about what most considered to be MJ's “weirdness”, could be tied to his vitiligo and lupus.

Dr. Robert Lahita from Newark Beth Israel Center talks about lupus and vitiligo with Diane Sawyer:


At some point in 1983, MJ had his second or third nose job, and it was also this year his first butterfly rash appeared. Dr Richard Strick was a doctor appointed by Tom Sneddon, to perform a court ordered examination of MJ in December 1993 and to review MJ's medical records in 1993 seized from his dermatologist and plastic surgeon.

After having reviewed those medical records, Dr Stick, a medical expert, who was not biased towards MJ, as he was working for the government, stated that the reasons MJ had so many nose jobs, were for “reconstructive” reasons due to the skin healing problems and scarring associated with discoid lupus. (Read Image 18)

The fact that Michael got a nosejob (this was before he was diagnosed) during a discoid lupus flare up, most likely complicated the healing and this could be why he needed reconstructive work done. (Read Image 19)…/facial-plastic-surgery-lupus-fib…

It doesn't matter what other surgeons have speculated to - they do not have access to MJ's medical history. A doctor who was hired by the prosecuting team, who did have access to his medical history, confirmed that the majority of surgery on his nose was corrective due to Lupus.Below is the doctor confirming this on film.




So why didn't his diagnosis for Lupus come out in the autopsy? That's the nature of the disease, and it seems an ANA test wasn’t performed. Even so, people with lupus don’t always test positive. Especially people who suffer mainly from discoid lupus, they tend not to test positive in an ANA test.

But in the autopsy some of the things noted, like alopecia, that he was anemic, the hemorrhages found in his lungs are consistent with the pleurisy and the prescription for Prednisone.