David Gest: 'Michael Jackson never got over his hair catching on fire'

Singer's friend says accident changed his life and caused drug addiction

Photo: Next Previous

Photo Gallery: Michael Jackson

David Gest has claimed that Michael Jackson "never got over" the accident in which his hair caught fire while filming a commercial.

The singer's head was infamously set alight when, during the recording of an advert for Pepsi in 1984, a fireworks display erupted behind him. Footage of the incident was re-examined following Jackson's death, with many pinning the start of his prescription drug use to the incident.

Gest, a friend of the late star, told BBC Breakfast that the accident had marked a turning point in his life. "When he started his solo career and he left Motown, when he did 'Off The Wall', 'Bad' and 'Thriller', he was in complete control of everything he did. He was in charge," he said.

"It was that accident, when you get a head concussion it changes your life because you get addicted to drugs, to get rid of all the pain, and that started with filming that commercial."

Gest also claimed that Jackson had been forced to undergo a medical treatment known as 'ballooning', which involves expanding the scalp and is commonly used as a method of surgical hair restoration. He added: "He never got over that. He had ballooning, ballooning is when you expand the scalp, until the day he died he was being ballooned."

Last week, a court in LA heard that the King of Pop was in "pharmacological never-never land" when he died. It was also claimed that his doctor, Conrad Murray, was "clueless" about the drug which allegedly ended the singer's life.

Dr Steven Shafer, an expert who gave evidence at the trial, said that Dr Murray's negligence in administering Propofol to the star directly led to his death. Dr Murray is not expected to testify during proceedings. The trial continues.

Michael Jackson was recently named the top earning dead celebrity for the second year running. His estate amassed $170 million (£106 million) between October 2010 and 2011, beating Elvis Presley into second place.

Read More On This Artist

Michael Jackson Merchandise
More News
The Decemberists tease new single 'Make Me Better' - listen
Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder covers John Lennon, Tom Waits, Bob Dylan at tiny gig
Dizzee Rascal shares gory Halloween video for 'Couple Of Stacks'
U2's Bono calls 'Seasons (Waiting On You)' by Future Islands "a miracle"
Arcade Fire release short horror film with James Murphy, Fleet Foxes and the National - watch
Damon Albarn swims with sharks in radio documentary
Bob Dylan's new album 'Shadows In The Night' to be released in 2015
Happy Mondays' Shaun Ryder: 'Liam Gallagher should get himself a TV chat show'
John Lydon: 'Never Mind The Bollocks' is an underrated record
Honeyblood open up about drummer's recent departure
Kate Tempest: In the UK 'voting does nothing to change the system'
Billy Corgan rules out playing 20th anniversary gigs for 'Mellon Collie And The Infinite...
The Libertines' Gary Powell to perform with pop newcomer Iris Gold at Jack Rocks The Macbeth
Gengahr announce last-minute London gig
Peta criticises One Direction for featuring chimp in new 'Steal My Girl' video
Kasabian cover the 'Ghostbusters' theme – listen
Jamie T kicks off first tour in four years with rowdy Bristol gig
Girls star Lena Dunham says Taylor Swift 'sings my story'
Flying Lotus releases twisted 'Ready Err Not' video – watch
'Blurred Lines' copyright dispute will go to trial in 2015, judge rules
Ibiza Rocks organisers announce new festival in Croatia
Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' named Spotify's most popular Halloween song

More News


Please login to add your comment.

Latest Tickets - Booking Now
Know Your NME

NME Store & Framed Prints
Inside NME.COM