Michael Jackson’s former bodyguard nearly died of an overdose after taking the same prescription pills the singer used before his death, it emerged today.
Martial arts expert Matt Fiddes, 31, became close friends with Jacko when he ran his security operation during his British tours.
But he has spiralled into depression over recent claims he fathered the star’s youngest son Blanket after donating his sperm in 2001.
The stress of the situation – and a messy divorce battle – caused him to down five powerful painkillers he claims he was given by one of Jackson’s doctors.
But he fell unconscious and was rushed to hospital by ambulance amid fears he may have suffered a potentially-fatal drugs overdose.
He spent nine hours under observation and was told by medics that the painkillers – which are banned in Britain – could gave killed him.
Matt, who is now recovering at home in Barnstaple, north Devon, said: ”Luckily the doctors were able to save me.
”They told me if I had taken two more of the tablets I would have been gone.
”It is a very powerful painkiller and was one found in Michael’s body. Like me, he didn’t know the strength of the drugs he was given.
”The last thing the doctor told me was that if I carried on like that I was I would end up like my old boss Michael Jackson.
”It is hard to grieve for Michael. To most people he was a superstar, but to me he was a buddy. Also the Blanket situation is ongoing. I’ve got problems coming from everywhere.”
Matt was prescribed the painkillers after tearing a muscle in his arm protecting Jacko from a mob of fans during a shopping trip with Uri Geller in London in 2002.
He didn’t take the Soma tablets – which are used as a muscle relaxant and painkiller – and stored them in his bathroom cabinet.
But over recent months, Matt has spiralled into depression since discovering in September that he may be the father of Jackson’s eight-year-old son Prince Michael II – known as Blanket – after donating sperm to the star in 2001.
He previously claimed the star offered him £500,000 for the sperm but he turned the money down and donated it for free.
The following year Blanket was born and Matt says he was told the baby was his by Mark Lester – another Jackson sperm donor thought to be the father of his daughter Paris.
Matt says the revelation has taken its toll on him and he has become increasingly depressed in recent months.
He added: ”It’s been a constant source of stress for me ever since I found out I was Blanket’s father.
”I go to bed every night thinking that I have another son that I can’t see.”
Matt has also struggled to deal with a bitter divorce from wife Marcia and the news that his mum Marjella (corr) Norris, 55, was last year diagnosed with terminal breast cancer.
He took five of the 350mg Soma tablets – a muscle relaxant – last Saturday (27/11) evening and instantly started to feel nauseous.
Within minutes he was struck down with stroke-like symptoms when he lost the feeling in part of his face and became drowsy.
Matt called NHS Direct and the operators were so concerned they dispatched an ambulance to take him to North Devon District Hospital at 1am.
The former bodyguard was put on a heart monitor as doctors used a saline solution to flush the drugs from his system, before carrying out a series of tests and releasing him at 9am on Sunday.
A close friend of Matt’s, who did not want to be named, said he had taken the drugs after failing to come to terms with Jacko’s death and being unable to visit Blanket.
He said: ”We all think Matt does need a wake up call. We do not want him to end up like Michael Jackson.
”The pain of losing Michael and the Blanket story leak put him in a bad way.
”He could not sleep due to the stress of his life and being so alone in his mansion day and night.”
Matt claimed in September that he donated sperm to the late pop star in 2001 after Jackson told him he wanted an ‘athletic’ child.