It took forty two days, but now some light has been shed on the how and maybe the why concerning the death of entertainer Prince in his home and recording studio in Chanhassen, Minnesota.
According to USA Today, when details on the artist’s autopsy began to leak online via “anonymous sources” to the Associated Press and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office in Minnesota finally publicized the entirety of the report, detailing both cause and manner of Prince’s sudden demise.
CNN reported that the cause of death was toxicity by fentanyl, currently the most powerful opium derived painkiller available – often used on cancer patients – and that the manner of death was a self-administered accidental overdose. Prince has allegedly been suffering chronic pain for decades, owing to numerous concert performances while wearing his trademark high-heeled shoes. Only days before he was found dead, the artist’s staff engaged the services of a specialist in opioid addiction to help him with a medical emergency, believed to be a dependency on prescription painkillers.
Fentanyl, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is a synthetic opiate analgesic similar to but about a hundred times more potent than morphine. It is typically used to alleviate severe pain, such as that suffered after surgery, and dosage is given in patches or lollipop form. The Drug Enforcement Administration also adds that fentanyl, like most opiates, originated in China, and has recently been in the spotlight for a rash of numerous overdose deaths in the United States. The toxicology report on Prince however, did not specify how the drug was administered by him, or whether it was prescribed for him or illegally obtained.
The autopsy also included several particulars on Prince’s final physical condition. In the end the 5-foot- 3 artist only weighed 122 pounds, was scarred in the left hip and lower right leg, and found dressed in a predominantly black clothing ensemble. Further details will not be released by the Medical Examiner’s Office.
Prince, born Prince Rogers Nelson, was found unresponsive inside an elevator in his Paisley Park complex in April 21 by two of the singer’s staff and Andrew Kornfeld, son of Dr. Howard Kornfeld, the opioid addiction specialist contacted by Prince’s team. The younger Kornfeld was supposed to make a preliminary evaluation on the artist’s health for his father, who couldn’t come immediately, as well as enter Prince for pain management treatment. Federal prosecutors consider their investigation on the performer’s death as a criminal investigation, and are trying to determine where Prince obtained his medication and from whom.
An added wrinkle in the case is the now-chaotic condition of Prince’s multi-million dollar estate due to the lack of a last will and testament. A special administrator has been tasked to track down all his possible assets and all potential heirs.
Photo Credit to USMagazine.com