Painkillers and their possible role in the death of pop star Prince are the focus of an investigation by authorities.
Sources familiar with the investigation told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that painkillers may have had a fatal impact on the singer in his final weeks.
Michael Padden, longtime attorney for Prince’s siblings Lorna and Duane Nelson , told the Star-Tribune that they had informed him more than a decade ago that the singer had a “significant problem” with the painkiller Percocet and cocaine.
“Both were really concerned it would end his life prematurely,” Padden said about the siblings who often discussed Prince’s drug problems with the attorney, the Star-Tribune reported.
“Lorna told me that her brother would die young,” Padden said, “before his time and of a heart attack.” He also told the paper that brother Duane paid straw buyers to get prescriptions that he then gave to Prince.
Lorna died in 2006, and Duane in 2011, according to the Star-Tribune.
Padden has shared the information with authorities who are investigating the death of the 57-year-old singer who was found dead last week at his Paisley Park estate in Chanhassan, Minn. Three people who were present when police arrived on the scene have not been identified.
Five days before his death, the singer’s private plane had made an emergency medical landing in Moline, Ill. while en route to his home following a concert. Sources said emergency personnel gave Prince a shot of an opioid antidote to counter a reported overdose, according to the Star-Tribune. Though he was taken to the hospital, he left within a few hours.
Many of Prince’s colleagues and friends said the singer had led a clean life and that drugs were not an issue for him.
“I 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,” said Robbie Paster, Prince’s valet and personal assistant from 1984 to 1992, according to the Star-Tribune.
Longtime lawyer for Prince, L. Londell McMillan said that although the singer may have taken medication once in a while for pain, he was “not on any drugs that would be any cause for concern.” McMillan spoke to Prince the Sunday before he died. “He said he was doing perfect,” he said.
Prince’s close friend and former band member, Sheila E. said that she had “never seen him take anything, not even aspirin, in the 38 years I’ve known him.”
The final cause of Prince’s death will not be made public for weeks said the Carver County Sheriff’s Office, according to the Star-Tribune.
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