Prince’s Death: Police Rule Out Suicide

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A Prince portrait and flowers left by fans outside the Paisley Park compound Minneapolis, Minnesota, on April 23, 2016.
A Prince portrait and flowers left by fans outside the Paisley Park compound Minneapolis, Minnesota, on April 23, 2016.Credit: Mark Ralston, AFP

New findings emerged over the weekend regarding the circumstances surrounding the sudden death of the 57-year-old American musician Prince. According to police, emergency services were called to Paisley Park in Minneapolis after his employees became worried at not getting him on the phone. Medics found him unconscious in one of the elevators there. Resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful and they pronounced his death.

The police found no suspects in the vicinity and there were no signs of foul play on his body. The body was taken for an autopsy, which lasted four hours, as well as for an extensive toxicology test, the results of which will be made public in a few weeks.

“He was a private person while he was alive, and this was maintained after his death, with his dignity respected” said local sheriff Jim Olson at a press conference, in which he also announced that this was not a suicide. Cyril Wacht, a pathologist not connected to the case, said that according to reports of Prince’s last days this was probably a drug-related death. Prince did not use drugs or consume alcohol and was an avid vegan, but there were reports that he had been using heavy painkillers lately. He also suffered from epilepsy and needed orthopedic surgery to replace both hips. He refused the surgery due to his religious beliefs and his membership in Jehovah’s Witnesses, which led him to refuse blood transfusions. 

According to some websites, six days before his death he suffered from an overdose of pain killers, although this was presented to the media as flu or dehydration, which led to his loss of consciousness. His plane made an emergency landing and he was taken by ambulance for emergency life-saving treatment. That same evening he went to a music store and bought some Stevie Wonder discs. He organized a party that night, during which he surprised everyone by going onstage with a purple organ and guitar. He performed and talked to the audience on that occasion.