Michael Jackson Back in the Hospital

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Michael Jackson has been taken to a hospital emergency room for treatment of a back problem that has plagued him throughout his molestation trial.

Spokeswoman Raymone Bain says Jackson, accompanied by a bodyguard, arrived at the Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital about five miles from his Neverland ranch at about 2:30 p.m. Pacific time.

Speaking to reporters outside the hospital, Bain said, "Mr. Jackson's back has spurred up on him again. It's pretty serious. It was serious enough for him to come over here."

Bain said stress contributed to the entertainer's back problem. Jackson's health has been an issue throughout the trial. The 46-year-old pop star appeared gaunt in recent days, and officials at Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital disclosed Friday that he had visited the emergency room overnight.

Jackson's case was twice previously interrupted by hospital visits, once for treatment of flu symptoms.

By Sunday night at around 8 p.m. Michael Jackson had left a hospital near his Neverland ranch. Two SUVs pulled up outside the emergency room entrance and waited there for about an hour as Jackson's people erected a white scaffold to block photographers' views.

As flashbulbs popped and fans screamed "we love you," the two vehicles drove slowly through a street packed with reporters and fans, several of whom chased the vehicle.