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Michael Jackson Sued Pepsi After Pyro Caused Him Severe Burns

Michael Jackson in 1984, complete with sunglasses and white diamond studded glove

Michael Jackson is widely regarded as one of the most talented performers in the history of music.

The King of Pop died aged 50 in 2009 after suffering a cardiac arrest, which was brought on by a lethal combination of sedatives and propofol, an anesthetic.

It is well-known Jackson was a genius who had developed serious issues with prescription medication over the course of his life

His addiction is thought to date back to the peak of his popularity in the early 1980s.

The catalyst is said to be a bizarre incident in 1984 during the shooting of a commercial for Pepsi.

What Happened?

Jackson had secured a lucrative contract to be the face of the popular soft drink.

The company saw the singer as major asset in its fierce battle with Coca-Cola in the 1980s.

The singer was filming the commercial in 1984 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles when the incident happened.

The concept was simple, Jackson was to perform his mega-hit Billie Jean to the backdrop of a spectacular pyro show.

Jackson was at the top of his game at the time with his Thriller album on the way to becoming the most successful album of all time (It is thought to have now sold a staggering 70 million copies).

But the incident saw Jackson suffering second-degree burns to his scalp after the pyrotechnics set fire to his hair.

It caused him a great deal of pain, both physically and mentally.

Jackson was treated for his injuries, but the incident started his long-term dependence on medication, which lasted until his death.

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The Lawsuit

The details of the lawsuit are shrouded in secrecy, but it is known Pepsi made a payout to Jackson.

Some sources suggest it was around $1.5 million, a sizeable sum in 1984.

In typical fashion, Jackson donated all the money to the Brotman Medical Center in Culver City, California.

The center established the "Michael Jackson Burn Center" in recognition of the donation.

Keen to move on after the incident the two parties continued to work with each other.

PepsiCo, which bizarrely also once had its own navy, sponsored Jackson's "Bad" tour in 1987.

The incident remains one of the most high-profile lawsuits in the music industry.

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