The legendary artist Prince died last week at age 57. Reports are emerging today that prescription opioid pills, specifically Percocet, were found on his person. More of the drug was found in his Minnesota home.
CNN quotes a law enforcement official as their source for reports that the singer's death involved prescription drugs.
The pills are commonly used to treat pain, and investigators have brought in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to help with the case, the source said.
Investigators believe a health scare about a week before Prince's death, which caused an unscheduled landing of his plane in Illinois, was likely the result of a reaction to the pain medication, the official said.
TMZ beat CNN to the story, and didn't name sources. They didn't mince words, either: "Prince was addicted to Percocet for years before his death."
Multiple sources connected with the singer's family tell us, doctors prescribed the powerful painkiller in 2009 when he was suffering from hip problems. We're told he had corrective surgery sometime around 2010, but by then he was hooked on the drug.
Our sources say Prince developed a sometimes debilitating dependence on Percocet in the years that followed.
"Serious News" networks like CNN hate really hate crediting TMZ, because TMZ is unabashedly sleazy–but early reports from Harvey Levin's global spying operation on celebrity deaths do tend to be true and accurate, even if the subject matter is lurid.
TMZ reported on the same day Prince was found dead in an elevator that just 6 days earlier, he'd almost died from a Percocet OD while traveling by plane, and received a Narcan shot from a hospital to counteract.
From that TMZ report:
We broke the story … Prince's private jet made an emergency landing in Moline, Illinois last Friday, hours after he performed in Atlanta. At the time his reps said he was battling the flu … something we questioned because his plane was only 48 minutes from home before the unscheduled landing.
Multiple sources in Moline tell us, Prince was rushed to a hospital and doctors gave him a "save shot" … typically administered to counteract the effects of an opiate.
Our sources further say doctors advised Prince to stay in the hospital for 24 hours. His people demanded a private room, and when they were told that wasn't possible … Prince and co. decided to bail. The singer was released 3 hours after arriving and flew home.
Also this week, news emerged that Prince may have died without a will. This is really weird, because he was so hyper-controlling about the internet, digital rights management, the use of his image–Prince seemed to really relish control in many respects of the word. When the record labels screwed him on a deal, the story goes, Prince decided to change his name to that weird symbol, and everybody was supposed to call him The Artist. How could a person so obsessed with control as a creative device not leave a will? Can you imagine the value of his estate, or just the unpublished music lingering in unknown vaults? Prince was by many credible accounts hyper-prolific. He created an untold number of works that his fans have never heard or seen.
Who will control that?
From the Reuters coverage of the lack of any will:
Michael Kosnitzky, a New York- and Miami-based attorney who advises the extremely wealthy, said he was surprised Prince had died without a will, given the artist's tendency to control his image, likeness, name and recordings. "That he would put himself in a position that he would lose control of those things at death I found very surprising," Kosnitzky said.
"What is to stop someone who controls his estate from saying that they're going to promote purple Skittles?" he said, referring to Prince's signature color and the popular candy, adding that he did not think Prince would approve.