Prince Rogers Nelson, the singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and actor. just known to the music world as Prince died of an overdose of fentanyl, an opioid painkiller that is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin, autopsy results released in Minneapolis on Thursday showed. The superstar musician was found dead April 21 at his Minneapolis estate.
Friends have said that Prince suffered from intense knee and hip pain from many years of rollicking stage performances. Although the death has been formally ruled an accident, authorities began reviewing whether an overdose was to blame and whether he had been prescribed drugs in the preceding weeks.
According to a one-page report released by the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office, Prince administered the drug himself on an unknown date. The office said the death investigation is complete, and it had no further comment.
Illegally distributing fentanyl to someone who then dies from it is punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years under US federal law.
The names of at least two doctors have come up in the death investigation.
Dr. Michael Todd Schulenberg, a family practitioner, treated Prince twice in the weeks before his death. He had told investigators that he prescribed medications for the singer.
Schulenberg saw Prince April 7 and April 20 — the day before his death — according to the warrant. Schulenberg’s attorney has declined to comment on the case.
Dr. Howard Kornfeld, a California addiction specialist, was asked by Prince’s representatives on April 20 to help the singer.
Prince was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.
On April 7, Prince postponed two performances at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta from his Piano & A Microphone Tour; the venue released a statement saying he had influenza. Prince rescheduled and performed the show on April 14, even though he still was not feeling well. While flying back to Minneapolis early the next morning, he became unresponsive, and his private jet made an emergency landing at Quad City International Airport in Moline, Illinois, where he was hospitalized and received Narcan, but he left against medical advice.
Representatives said he suffered from “bad dehydration” and had had influenza for several weeks. Prince was seen bicycling the next day in his hometown of Chanhassen, Minnesota. He shopped that evening at the Electric Fetus in Minneapolis for Record Store Day and made a brief appearance at an impromptu dance party at his Paisley Park recording studio complex, stating that he was feeling fine. On April 19, he attended a performance by singer Lizz Wright at the Dakota Jazz Club.
On April 20, Prince’s representatives called Dr. Howard Kornfeld, a California specialist in addiction medicine and pain management, seeking medical help for Prince. Kornfeld scheduled to meet with Prince on April 22, and he contacted a local physician who cleared his schedule for April 21, for an exam and to check on Prince’s condition.
On April 21, at 9:43 a.m., the Carver County Sheriff’s Office received a 9-1-1 call requesting that an ambulance be sent to Prince’s home at Paisley Park. The caller initially told the dispatcher that an unidentified person at the home was unconscious, then moments later said he was dead, and finally identified the person as Prince. – CINEWS