In the weeks following the untimely death of legendary singer Prince, rumors have been swirling about the star’s alleged dependency on prescription medication. From singer-songwriter Sinead O’Connor to Charlie Wilson, some suspected the star was struggling with addiction. For the most part however, the pubic seemed unaware of Prince’s private battle.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the music legend planned to meet with a California addiction recovery doctor just one day prior to his death.
The singer was found unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate on April 21. He was pronounced dead at 10:07 a.m., 19 minutes after emergency personnel arrived at the home, according to the Star Tribune.
Prince representatives are said to have contacted Dr. Howard Kornfeld, a national authority in treating opioid addictions, the night of April 20 because the musician “was dealing with a grave medical emergency,” the newspaper quotes Minneapolis attorney William Mauzy saying.
Kornfeld operates the California-based treatment center Recovery Without Walls. According to the business’ website, Recovery Without Walls is a “personalized outpatient clinic, specializing in innovative, evidence-based medical treatment for chronic pain and drug and alcohol addiction.”
Kornfeld was unable to meet with Prince on April 21 due to his busy schedule, but had plans to fly out to Minnesota the next day, the Star Tribune reports. Mauzy said that Kornfeld sent his son, Andrew Kornfeld, ahead of him to visit Paisley Park and disclose to the “Purple One” and his staff how the confidential treatment would proceed. The younger Kornfeld is a practice consultant at the treatment center, according to CNN.com.
Mauzy, who is working with the Kornfelds, spoke on their behalf saying,”The plan was to quickly evaluate his [Prince’s] health and devise a treatment plan. The doctor was planning on a lifesaving mission.”
Per the Star Tribune, Andrew Kornfeld was supposed to meet with Prince early Thursday morning after a red-eye flight from San Francisco to Minneapolis. He arrived at Paisley Park at 9:30 a.m. but Prince’s staff was unable to locate the musician. The local paper reports that Kornfeld was one of the people present at the home when Prince was found. It was Kornfeld who called 911 minutes after the singer’s body was discovered in an elevator.
Mauzy said that Andrew Kornfeld told him the others screamed when they found Prince and “were in too much shock” to call for help.
When the 911 dispatcher asked Kornfeld for an address, he simply responded, “We’re in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and we are at the home of Prince,” as he was unfamiliar with the Paisley Park residence, the Star Tribune reports.
The newspaper also said their sources revealed that the musician’s use of prescription painkillers had become the focus of the investigation into his death. The medication had been found at Prince’s home, and now investigators are trying to identify who provided him with the pills.
Troubled singer Sinead O’Conner made a salacious claim about Prince’s alleged drug use, accusing former late-night talk show host Arsenio Hall of providing the musician with the drugs, Atlanta Black Star reports.
Traci Harper, a representative of Hall’s, provided a statement to People Magazine to dispute O’Connor’s bizarre allegation.
“The statement regarding Arsenio Hall is absolutely false, ridiculous and absurd,” Harper told the magazine.
Prince reportedly began taking pain medication following corrective surgery on his hip in 2010. The pills were also used to treat persistent pain from an ankle injury, according to Entertainment Tonight.
Sources confirmed that the elder Kornfeld, Howard, suggested that a Twin Cities doctor examine Prince and attempt to stabilize him. The specialist hoped that the “Purple Rain” singer would relocate to San Francisco to receive long-term treatment for his addiction.
According to the Star Tribune, Dr. Kornfeld is an advocate of the drug Suboxone, also known as buprenorphine, which helps curb opioid cravings. His son Andrew had a small dosage of the drug on him when he went to see Prince, but it was never administered, Mauzy told the newspaper. The younger Kornfeld ultimately handed the Suboxone over to Carver County investigators after the musician’s body was found.
Throughout this whole ordeal, not everyone in Prince’s tight circle is convinced the star had a problem with prescription drugs. Prince’s longtime lawyer, Londell McMillan, has refuted recent reports that his client’s death was caused by a narcotics overdose, NBC News reports.
“Everybody who knows Prince knows he wasn’t walking around drugged up,” McMillan told The Associated Press last week. “That’s foolish. No one ever saw Prince and said, ‘He looks high.’ It wasn’t what he was about.”
Investigation into the singer’s death is ongoing. Per NBC News, an autopsy was completed, but a cause of death has not been released.