Conrad Murray was released from a downtown Los Angeles jail at 12:01 a.m. Sheriff's deputies whisked the 60-year-old away from the back door of the jail in a police cruiser Monday.
"Safety trumps everything and Conrad Murray was released at 12:01 tonight and he was released safely and securely," said L.A. County sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore.
Testy fans and a throng of TV crews waited outside the Los Angeles Men's Central Jail Monday but the sheriff's department kept Murray clear of all of them. His attorney, Valerie Wass, became the fans' next target.
"If you weren't so ignorant, you would know that he was not convicted of murder," Wass was heard telling an angry protester, "he was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, which is a crime of negligence."
"It should have been murder," the protester replied.
"It is ignorance that people do not understand it was a crime of negligence. He loved Michael and Michael loved him," said Wass.
The former cardiologist was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in 2011 of causing Jackson's death in June 2009 by providing the superstar with an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol as a sleep aid.
He was sentenced to four years in prison but a change in California law allowed his incarceration time to be significantly cut down. Wass said he was released early due to credit for time served.
"My client received the maximum term possible," said Wass. "This is a man that had no prior record. He had 20 years of exemplary services as a physician. He was given the maximum term, he served every possible day, they didn't let him out a minute early."
Jackson died on June 25, 2009, at the age of 50 as he was getting ready for the "This Is It" concert series at London's O2 Arena. Murray was serving as his personal physician for the series of comeback concerts. An autospy found that he died of acute propofol intoxication.
During Murray's incarceration, he never backed off from his position that it was Jackson who administered to himself the fatal dose of propofol. Yet the jury weighed other factors too, including his delay in calling 911.
As a result of the conviction, the 60-year-old former doctor had his medical license suspended in California, Texas and Nevada.
Lawyers for Murray have since filed petitions to have his medical license reinstated.
Murray's prospects are uncertain as his face and name are well known due to his association with Jackson and his highly-publicized involuntary manslaughter trial.
The former doctor is appealing his conviction, although an appeals court has questioned whether it needs to hear the case. Wass has argued that the court should not dismiss the appeal because it could alter his overall sentence and reduce some of the stigma his conviction has caused.
Wass said Murray was hopeful he would be vindicated on appeal.
"He's going to fight it. I think it will be very difficult in California if they uphold the judgment," Wass told ABC News. "He's very hopeful. He's going to practice medicine somewhere is my understanding. ... He's prepared to go to federal court to fight."
In a statement released Monday, Katherine Jackson said the suspension should be permanent.
"It is clear Conrad Murray was hired by AEG and killed Michael Jackson," the statement read. "We hope he can never practice medicine again and will not violate his Hippocratic Oath and hurt another patient."
Wass said Murray is elated to be out of jail and that his first priority is being with his youngest child and the child's mother.
ABC News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.