It has been revealed that Prince’s cause of death was an opioid overdose. Law enforcement made the announcement today (June 2nd) after weeks of speculation by media outlets about the musician’s drug use around the time of his death on April 21st. Investigators reported in late April that Prince had been in the possession of prescription painkillers. The Drug Enforcement Agency and U.S. Attorney joined the investigation in early May. The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office said initially that the autopsy was inconclusive—it wanted to wait until the toxicology report came in.
Prince’s plane made an emergency landing a week before his death, and although news reports at the time stated that the singer was either suffering from dehydration or fighting the flu, the Associated Press reported that Prince was unconscious at the time the plane landed, and that first responders administered a shot of Narcan, which offsets suspected opioid overdoses.
It was later revealed that Prince had been struggling with an addiction to pain medication. Attempts were made to get him help from addiction specialist Dr. Howard Kornfeld. A lawyer for the doctor’s family told the New York Times that he had sent his son, Andrew, to Prince’s Paisley Park to meet with Prince and discuss a potential plan for treatment. Andrew had arrived too late, though, and was the one who made the 911 call.
Prince’s lawyer, L. Londell McMillan, told the AP that he had spoken to Prince the Sunday before his death. “He said he was doing perfect,” the attorney said. “He said, ‘OK, I’ll call you soon.'” When asked about substance abuse, McMillan said Prince was “not on any drugs that would be any cause for concern.”
Prince’s estate is reportedly worth millions, and the artist reportedly left behind no will. Bremer Trust has been appointed as a temporary special administrator for the estate. The company has drilled open the vault below Paisley Park, and it contained thousands of recordings.