The results of Michael Jackson’s autopsy reveal much of what we already knew…no foul play or stress to the outer body. Nothing was found out of the ordinary.
Now as we await the results of the toxicology reports, there are strong suspicions about how he died. At the young age of 50, Jackson passed away from a rumored heart attack. A life taken way too early.
That brings to thought another man who died way too early, former Arizona Cardinals safety Pat Tillman. The only parallel to the two lives is that they both had a passion for what they did and they both died before their time should have been up.
Tillman left the Cardinals and the NFL to become an Army Ranger. As you all know, he died in action, most likely from friendly fire, in Afghanistan in 2004. What he did was courageous and patriotic. Greatly affected by the events of September 11, 2001, Tillman, who joined with his brother Kevin, decided fighting for his freedom and the freedom of all Americans was much more important than any football game and the fame and fortune that came along with it.
Although Tillman was the enemy to me as a college player, as he was from Arizona State University and I graduated from the University of Arizona, I still respected him as a played. He fought hard for himself and his teammates. It was that very passion that unfortunately led to his untimely death.
Jackson on the other hand, contrasts in comparison. Here was a man, idolized by many in his early years, became the poster child of controversy throughout the remaining 15 years or so of his life. Jackson was loved by many, as we have all witnessed over the past 48 hours. He lived an eccentric life. He had legal troubles. He even moved out of the country for awhile to hide from the negative spotlight that had been cast upon him.
Tillman instead stayed with his country. Fought for his country. He was the poster child of passion for life. Sure he too lived in the spotlight for a time, however you always knew it was never about him. It was always about others.
So, the one thing that links Tillman with Jackson though is how young and sudden both of them were taken from us. We loved Tillman and Jackson for different reasons. There are those that didn’t care for either one, although how could you not root for a guy like Tillman? It took courage to do what he did.
Jackson apparently was ready to turn his life in a positive direction by attempting a comeback for his fans and to help wipe out a massive debt. It was that attempt at turning his life around that most likely killed him. Celebrate Jackson today because of his talents and accomplishments, especially since many will most likely not like what they see in the toxicology reports. However, celebrate Tillman forever. He was the type of person every father should want their son to be.
Tragic, two lives no matter how different, no matter what the opinions are of either, were taken way too early from us.
Rest in peace both of you.