TRAGIC Prince overdosed on super-strength pain-killers days before being found dead at his home. The music legend took a potentially lethal dose of pills on a plane and had to be resuscitated, it was claimed last night. It also emerged that he had been battling a series of health problems. The news came as haunting final pictures emerged of the star, who was 57, looking frail and gaunt as he bought drugs at a chemist shop. Last night a post-mortem examination was completed and his body was due to be released.
The singer was found in a lift at his Paisley Park estate in Minneapolis on Thursday. Reports said Prince – full name Prince Rogers Nelson – had been taking Percocet before his death. The painkiller can cause serious side effects, including seizures and breathing difficulties. Just six days before he died the singer was given a lifesaving jab, dubbed a “save shot”, after being taken ill on board his private jet. It made an emergency landing in Illinois and Prince was rushed to hospital.
His entourage claimed he was suffering from flu and the singer discharged himself and went home. Officials say it could be weeks before the cause of death is fully known. But a spokesman for the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office said experts would be looking into the Purple Rain singer’s drug use.
They added: “As part of a complete exam, relevant information regarding Mr Nelson’s medical and social history will be gathered. Anything which could be relevant to the investigation will be taken into consideration.” Distraught fans continued to flock to the star’s home city to pay their respects and take part in mass singalongs.Many wore purple in tribute to his favourite colour.
Prince’s sister Tyka Nelson told fans outside his home: “He loved all of you. Thank you for loving him back.” Hollywood star Will Smith, 47, revealed he had spoken to Prince just hours before his death. He said “I am stunned and heartbroken. I just spoke with him last night. “I mourn with all of you the loss of a beautiful poet, a true inspiration, and one of the most magnificent artists to ever grace this earth.”
British comic James Corden, 37, rushed back to the studios of his US chat show The Late Late Show to record his own tribute to the singer. He said: “It didn’t feel right to me to start an entertainment show without coming back down here and turning the lights on and saying something about him. To be unique in this world is impossible. Prince stands alone. He is completely original.”
Prince’s records are set to dominate the charts in the coming weeks. Within hours of his death being announced two of his albums had already raced back into the Top 20.