Michael Jackson Autopsy Underway

UPDATED 06/26/2009 at 01:10 PM EDT Originally published 06/26/2009 at 12:45 PM EDT

Michael Jackson Autopsy Underway
Matt Baron/BEImages
As police make plans to conduct a second interview with Michael Jackson's doctor, the autopsy on the singer began Friday morning to determine the cause of his mysterious death, with Los Angeles County's top medical examiner conducting the procedure himself.

Jackson, 50, was declared dead at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center on Thursday afternoon after suffering a cardiac arrest in his home. His body was airlifted across town to the offices of the Los Angeles coroner for the autopsy that began fewer than 24 hours later.

Police already interviewed the physician who was present with Jackson at the time he was stricken, and contrary to reports the doctor "is not a missing person," says LAPD spokeswoman Officer Karen Rayner. The doctor "needs to be interviewed further," but the interview "just has not happened yet," she said. The doctor's car was impounded because "it contains potential information, medications or other evidence," she added.

At the coroner's office, Dr. Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran, who has handled the high-profile O.J. Simpson and Phil Specter murder cases, was conducting the autopsy, which should take several hours, according to Ed Winter, chief of investigations for the coroner's office.

Given allegations of possible prescription drug abuse by the entertainer, a final determination of the cause of death will likely have to await toxicology tests, which can take days or weeks.

Stay tuned to PEOPLE.com for more on Jackson's cause of death ...


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