Sources close to authorities’ investigation into Prince’s death told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on Monday that they’re investigating whether painkillers played a role.
“Several familiar with the probe have told the Star Tribune that painkillers may have taken a toll on the musician during his final weeks,” the paper writes.
The sources appear to match information carried in TMZ’s story about a medical emergency that took place a week before his death. TMZ claimed that an opiate overdose was the reason his plane carried out an emergency landing in Moline, Illinois. He got an antidote and stayed there for several hours before he went home.
A longtime attorney for two of Prince’s siblings told the Star-Tribune and local authorities that his clients told him more than a decade ago that the “Purple Rain” hit-maker had a “substantial” drug problem, namely with Percocet and cocaine.
Michael Padden, said that Lorna Nelson and Duane Nelson, talked to him about Prince’s alleged drug problems. The two had legal trouble with Prince.
“Both were really concerned it would end his life prematurely,” he said. The two siblings have since died, with Lorna dying in 2006 and Duane passing away in 2011.
“Lorna told me that her brother would die young … before his time and of a heart attack,” Padden told the Star-Tribune, which was captured on video.
But ex-band member and his close friend Sheila E. told the paper on Sunday a different story. “[I’ve] never seen him take anything, not even aspirin, in the 38 years I’ve known him,” she said.
Robbie Paster, his limo driver and personal assistant between 1984 and 1992, added that he “never knew of any opiate or cocaine problem. There’s no way you can do both of those and be as driven as he was. I never saw it.”
Prince’s own lawyer, L. Londell McMillan, said medication may have been used to treat pain but none “that would be any cause for concern,” AP reported.
“Everybody who knows Prince knows he wasn’t walking around drugged up,” he added. “That’s foolish. No one ever saw Prince and said, ‘He looks high.’ It wasn’t what he was about.”
Prince’s initial autopsy was conducted last week. There were no signs of trauma and police have ruled out suicide.