Investigator: Prince Died of Opioid Overdose

Investigator: Prince Died of Opioid Overdose

Singer sought treatment before he died

Singer Prince died of an opioid overdose, an anonymous law enforcement official told reporters in June. He was 57 when he passed away on April 21, 2016.

Seeking Treatment
Before he died, Prince was actively seeking treatment for his addiction. He had contacted an addiction specialist, Howard Kornfeld, MD, for treatment. Dr. Kornfeld sent his son, Andrew, to Minnesota to meet with Prince, who reportedly found Prince unresponsive in an elevator and called 911.

Deaths from prescription opioids like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl quadrupled between 1999 and 2014. Some 78 Americans die of a prescription opioid overdose every day.

Related: What You Should Know About Opioid Addiction

Emergency medical personnel were reportedly summoned to the studio, Paisley Park. According to written reports, Carver County dispatch broadcast the call as “a medical, Paisley Park … for a male down, not breathing.” Emergency medical personnel on the scene responded with “CPR started.” He was pronounced dead at 10:07am.

Concerts Postponed
The “Purple Rain” singer, whose full name was Prince Rogers Nelson, postponed two Atlanta concerts on April 7 due to illness.

On his way home to Minnesota, Prince’s private jet made an emergency landing in Illinois in the early morning hours of April 15, and the artist was rushed to the hospital. The nature of the medical emergency remains unconfirmed, but an anonymous source told news outlets that Prince received a shot of naloxone, which reverses opiate overdoses. He was released from the hospital shortly after. 

The next day, April 16, Prince threw a dance party at the Paisley Park complex to assure fans he was on the mend. He did not perform, but showed off his new guitar and piano, and told the crowd to “Wait a few days before you waste any prayers.”

Medically reviewed in January 2019.

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