Michael Jackson told his tour director days before he died he was hearing God's voice, a producer testified Wednesday.
"God keeps talking to me,"Jackson said.
Those words spoken to Kenny Ortega and Jackson's frail appearance were so disturbing that it caused Ortega and associate producer Alif Sankey to burst into tears at a rehearsal, Sankey said Wednesday in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Jackson's mother and three children.
Jackson, who was being fitted for his costumes, appeared "extremely thin" and "was not speaking normally" at the June 19, 2009, rehearsal, Sankey told jurors in a trial to determine if concert promoter AEG Live should be held liable in the pop icon's death.
Jurors saw a photo of Jackson at the costume fitting that showed an obviously thin and gaunt man.
Sankey testified that she and Ortega cried together after Jackson left. On her way home, Sankey stopped her car to call Ortega "because I had a very strong feeling that Michael was dying."
"I was screaming into the phone at that point," Sankey testified. "I said he needs to be put in the hospital now."
Sankey became emotional as she testified about the call.
"I kept saying that 'Michael is dying, he's dying, he's leaving us, he needs to be put in a hospital,'" Sankey said. "'Please do something. Please, please.' I kept saying that. I asked him why no one had seen what I had seen. He said he didn't know."
Ortega sent a series of e-mails early the next morning that resulted in a meeting at Jackson's house between Jackson, Dr. Conrad Murray, AEG Live President Randy Phillips and Ortega.
An e-mail from Phillips after that meeting said he had confidence in Murray, "who I am gaining immense respect for as I get to deal with him more."
"This doctor is extremely successful (we check everyone out) and does not need this gig, so he (is) totally unbiased and ethical," Phillips' e-mail said.
The lawsuit contends that Phillips and AEG never checked Murray out. Otherwise, they would have known he was deeply in debt and vulnerable to breaking the rules in treating Jackson to keep his job, it argues.
Jackson lawyers contend that AEG Live is liable for Jackson's death because the company negligently hired, retained or supervised Murray -- who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson's death.
Jackson's last rehearsal was at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles on June 24, 2009. Security camera video shown to the jury Wednesday showed him walking with a blanket wrapped around him as he passed Sankey.
"He didn't look good," she testified. "I asked him if he was cold, and he said 'Yes.'"
Jackson sang two songs that last night on stage: "Thriller" and "Earth Song," she said.
"He did it," Sankey said. "He went through it. He wasn't in full performance mode."
Sankey said she was standing next to Ortega at a rehearsal the next afternoon when Randy Phillips called to tell him Jackson was dead.
"Kenny collapsed in our arms," she said.
The lawsuit contends that AEG Live executives missed a series of red flags warning them that Jackson's life was at risk because of Murray, who was giving him nightly infusions of the surgical anesthetic propofol to treat his insomnia.
The coroner ruled Jackson had died from an overdose of propofol in combination with several sedatives on June 25, 2009.
Murray told investigators he used the drugs to help Jackson sleep so he could be rested for rehearsals.
AEG lawyers argue Jackson, not their company, chose and supervised Murray, and that their executives had no way of knowing what the doctor was doing to Jackson in the privacy of his bedroom.