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Michael Jackson didn't want to end up like Elvis, doctor says

In a video played for jurors Friday, a Santa Barbara County doctor said the pop singer once told him he wanted to stop using pain medication because “I don’t want to end up like my father-in-law” Elvis Presley.

Dr. Scott Saunders said he treated Jackson from 1998 through 2003, his first contact coming when the singer asked if he made house calls. Saunders said he visited Jackson at Neverland Ranch and treated him for an upper respiratory infection.

Saunders' video deposition was played in court Friday during the ongoing wrongful-death case in which Jackson’s mother and his three children claim that entertainment giant AEG Live is complicit is Jackson’s 2009 death. Jackson died as he was preparing for the anticipated “This Is It” tour, which AEG Live was producing and bankrolling.

FULL COVERAGE: AEG wrongful death trial

Saunders said he and Jackson eventually became friends.

“He was rather lonely and didn’t have anyone he could trust,” Saunders testified. And so he would call me and I would go over."

When Saunders would tell Jackson he had to go home to his family, the singer would try to persuade him to stay, the doctor said.

The doctor said Jackson told him “he had a very difficult childhood” and had never had an opportunity to be a child, though he did recount “running around hotels with Donny Osmond, that kind of thing.”

Jackson and his children would show up unannounced at the doctor's house in Solvang, Saunders testified. A driver would bring him, he said, and Jackson would just knock on the door.

"Were you surprised when he got there," Saunders was asked.

"Yes," he replied.

Jackson, he said, also gave the doctor's children an Xbox video game player as a Christmas present.

Presley, who was Jackson’s father-in-law, died of a heart attack in 1977.

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jeff.gottlieb@latimes.com

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