Prince Rogers Nelson is regarded as an American icon. Most commonly known simply as Prince, when he wasn’t referred to as the Artist Previously Known as Prince, is regarded as a true leader in the music industry. He is considered one of the greatest musicians of his generation. Prince was born on June 7, 1958, and died on April 21, 2016, of a fentanyl overdose.
Before diving into a discussion of Prince’s death, it’s important to note that he was an innovative performer. He was able to integrate an extensive variety of styles into his work. These included rock, new wave, soul, R&B, funk, synth-pop, industrial, psychedelia, and hip hop. He pioneered what would become known as the Minneapolis Sound. He was also known for his prolific output of music. During his lifetime, Prince released 39 albums. At the time of his death, dozens of fully produced albums were found in a vault in his home. In addition, over 50 unreleased music videos were also discovered.
Events Leading up to the Death of Prince
Prince had a pair of performances scheduled in Atlanta on April 7 and April 20, 2016. By the time April 7 rolled around, the singer complained of not feeling well and cancelled these two shows. The venue announced that Prince was suffering from influenza or the flu.
As it turned out, Prince rescheduled the pair of performances on April 14. He complained about not feeling well that evening but did do the show. The following morning, Prince flew out of Atlanta on his private plane. While en route back home to Minneapolis, Prince became unresponsive on the airplane.
The plane made an emergency landing in Moline, Illinois. Prince was hospitalized, his publicists telling the media that the singer was suffering from dehydration and influenza. In fact, while hospitalized in Moline, Prince was treated with Narcan, a name brand of the medication naloxone. Naloxone is a medication used to block the effects of opioids like fentanyl following an overdose.
Prince was back home near Minneapolis the following day. Prince was seen biking around his hometown of Chanhassen that day. He also attended a couple of events that evening.
On April 20, representatives of Prince reached out to a California addiction medicine and pain management specialist. They were seeking assistance for the singer. The specialist arranged to meet with Prince on April 22.
About 9:45 in the morning of April 21, the Carver County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from Prince’s home at Paisley Park. The caller requested that an ambulance be sent to Prince’s home. The caller explained that an unidentified person was unconscious at the residence. Moments later, the caller advised that the unnamed individual had died. Ultimately, the caller identified the person in need of assistance as Prince.
Emergency medical personnel and law enforcement went to Prince’s home. They found Prince unresponsive in an elevator in his home. They performed CPR on the singer.
Prince was pronounced dead at about 10:15 that morning, about 20 minutes after their arrival on the scene. As it turned out, Prince had been dead for about six hours. Police and EMTs at the scene concluded there was no evidence of suicide or foul play.
Fentanyl Overdose and the Death of Prince
The medical examiner ultimately made the determination that the cause of Prince’s death was an overdose of fentanyl, the highly addictive and hazardous opioid drug. The fentanyl used by Prince and that resulted in the overdose that took his life was contained in counterfeit pills that were made to look like generic Vicodin, a painkiller.
In the aftermath of Prince’s death, how Prince obtained the drug became the subject of an intensive investigation by a number of different law enforcement agencies. Ultimately the local prosecuting attorney announced that no criminal charges were to be brought in the death of Prince and provision of the fentanyl disguised as Vicodin.
Following his death, it became apparent that Prince had been dealing with pain issues for an extended period of time. Through the years, he had been prescribed and used an array of different painkillers, fentanyl being one of the latest – and last.
Fentanyl is a highly powerful medication. Generally speaking, fentanyl is recommended only when all other painkilling medications have proven ineffective. Moreover, the drug most often is prescribed only when a person is suffering from extreme, persistent, chronic pain.
At this juncture in time, fentanyl is a major reason why opioid overdoses and deaths have become a major issue across the United States. Fentanyl continues to be the underlying cause of overdoses among celebrities as well. The list of celebrities who’ve died from fentanyl overdoses is quite long and is becoming longer with each passing year.