Profile: Dr Conrad Murray

Dr Conrad Murray, surrounded by his defence attorneys at Los Angeles Superior Court on 1 November 2011 Dr Conrad Murray was hired by Jackson after becoming friends in 2006

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When Michael Jackson died on 25 June 2009, Dr Conrad Murray was at the hospital for the pop superstar, who had hired him as his personal physician and considered him a friend.

Months later, the 58-year-old was charged with Jackson's death and became a hate figure to the singer's legions of fans around the world.

Raised by his grandparents in Grenada in poverty, Dr Murray worked his way up to become a successful cardiologist in the US.

A series of financial and personal problems seemed to be ending after a chance meeting in Las Vegas with Michael Jackson led to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Dr Murray was hired at Jackson's request to be the star's personal physician ahead of his 50-date series of London concerts, This Is It.

Debts

Raised by his maternal grandparents, Dr Murray proved a hard-working student, eventually following his absent father, also a doctor, to the US - where he enrolled at Texas Southern University.

He graduated three years later with a degree in pre-medicine and biological sciences.

He continued his medical studies in Nashville, Tennessee, before completing his training in California and the University of Arizona, where he studied cardiology.

In 2000, he opened his own practice in Las Vegas, expanding with a second clinic in Houston in 2006. Like his father, he took pride serving both ends of the community, and provided medical care to deprived areas.

However, Dr Murray's apparent success was blighted by outstanding debts and tax demands. Reports suggest he filed for bankruptcy in 2002 while living in California.

The doctor's financial problems stemmed by providing medical care for the poor, his lawyers have said.

He had not paid the mortgage on his home in months when Jackson offered him the job as his personal physician. Other unpaid bills and debts loomed.

Dr Murray met Michael Jackson when the singer's daughter, Paris, was sick during a family trip to Las Vegas in 2006. According to Dr Murray's spokeswoman, someone within Jackson's group knew the doctor and called Dr Murray to treat her.

They remained friendly and Jackson hired the physician in May 2009. He was to be paid $150,000 (£96,000) a month.

"As a company, we would have preferred not having a physician on staff full-time because it would have been cheaper... but Michael was insistent that he be hired," promoter AEG's Randy Phillips told the Associated Press. "Michael said he had a rapport with him."

Sued

Dr Murray's lawyer, Edward Chernoff, said the case had put his client in fear of his life and he had to be accompanied "24/7 with a bodyguard".

Prosecution witness Nicole Alvarez testifies in Dr. Conrad Murray's trial 4 October 2011. The prosecution called Dr Murray's girlfriends to testify

"He can't operate his practice," said the attorney. "He can't go to work because he is harassed no matter where he goes."

According to public records cited by the LA Times, Dr Murray had two children with his wife, but also fathered several children with different women.

Those children included the now young toddler of Nicole Alvarez, an actress who met Dr Murray in 2005.

Several of Dr Murray's recent girlfriends have also testified at his trial, as well as former patients.

According to court records, he has been sued more than 10 times, including for breach of contract and unpaid child support. He has never been sued for malpractice.

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