Authorities investigating Prince’s death are putting their focus on the question of whether painkillers played any part in the music legend’s mysterious passing on April 21 or the medical emergency that forced his private plane to land in Moline, Illinois, days before, according to the Star Tribune.
Several sources have told the newspaper that painkillers may have taken a toll on Prince in his final weeks.
A source told the Star Tribune that the reason for the emergency landing in Moline after Prince played two concerts in one night in Atlanta was an overdose on an opioid. Once the plane landed, Prince was reportedly given an opioid antidote and was taken to the hospital. He left within a few hours.
Attorney Michael Padden told the Star Tribune that Prince’s siblings, Lorna Nelson and Duane Nelson, had discussed with him Prince’s problem with Percocet and cocaine over a decade ago.
“Lorna told me that her brother would die young… before his time and of a heart attack,” Padden said in a videotaped interview with the Star Tribune.
Lorna Nelson died in 2006 and Duane Nelson died five years later.
But other reports conflict the idea that Prince was abusing drugs.
Prince’s former band member and close friend Sheila E. has said she’s “never seen him take anything, not even aspirin, in the 38 years I’ve known him.”
Prince’s personal assistant and valet from 1984 to 1992 said, “I’ve never known 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.”
Padden has filed several lawsuits against Prince in the past, including one in which he represented Duane Nelson against Prince after Duane was fired by the musician.
Padden has spoken with the police about the allegations of Prince’s drug use, according to the Star Tribune.
“All I can tell you is that his sister independently corroborated every single thing Duane said to me,” Padden told the newspaper. “It wasn’t like I was proactive seeking information.”
Prince’s final official cause of death likely won’t be made public for weeks as authorities wait for reports from the medical examiner and toxicology results.