Michael Jackson Cancels Tour, Seeks Treatment For Addiction

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Michael Jackson canceled his worldwide "Dangerous" tour last night, saying he is addicted to painkillers.

In a taped statement released by his publicist, Jackson said the pressure of a teenage boy's child-molestation allegations prompted him to abuse prescription painkillers.

"My friends and doctors advised me to seek professional guidance immediately in order to eliminate what has become an addiction. It is time for me to acknowledge my need for treatment in order to regain my health," the entertainer said.

"I realize that completing the tour is no longer possible, and I must cancel the remaining dates."

Jackson said the painkillers were prescribed after he recently underwent reconstructive scalp surgery. His scalp was badly burned during the filming of a Pepsi-Cola commercial several years ago.

Jackson's representatives did not say where he would go for treatment.

Just before canceling the tour, Jackson had been in Mexico City, where he had canceled several concerts. He had canceled other concerts during the tour, citing various health problems.

Throughout the tour, the Los Angeles authorities' ongoing investigation had dogged Jackson. He also faces a lawsuit filed by the teenager, who claims the entertainer befriended, then abused him.

The boy's allegations prompted the police investigation, but Jackson has not been charged with any crime.

"As I left on this tour, I had been the target of an extortion attempt, and shortly thereafter was accused of horrifying and outrageous conduct," he said in his statement.

"I was humiliated, embarrassed, hurt and suffering great pain in my heart. The pressure resulting from these false allegations coupled with the incredible energy necessary for me to perform caused so much distress that it left me physically and emotionally exhausted. I became increasingly more dependent on the painkillers to get me through the days of the tour."

He credited actress Elizabeth Taylor with giving him the advice he needed to cancel the tour and repair his health.

Los Angeles television station KNBC reported that Jackson was going through customs in London yesterday, on his way to Switzerland.