How Did Prince Die?

The singer was just 57.

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Beloved musician Prince died on Thursday, April 21, at his home in Minnesota. He was just 57.

Prince was found unresponsive inside an elevator at his home and recording studio around 9:43 a.m., according to a statement from Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson. Sheriff's deputies and medical personnel provided "lifesaving CPR" but couldn't revive him, Olson said.

He was pronounced dead at 10:07 a.m.

An autopsy was performed on Prince's body in the afternoon the next day, the results of which wouldn't be released for at least several days, according to the Midwest Medical Examiner's Office in Minnesota. Drug testing, the office added, would take weeks.

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On June 2, more than a month after Prince's death, a law-enforcement official told The Associated Press that tests show the singer died of an opioid overdose. Following that leaked information, the Midwest Medical Examiner's Office released Prince's autopsy report, which confirms his death was caused by Fentanyl toxicity. Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opiate that's used to treat severe pain, such as after a surgery. It is similar to but more powerful than morphine, according to the National Institutes on Drug Abuse.

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During a press conference on Friday, April 22, Olson said there were no "obvious signs of trauma" on Prince's body, according to NPR. Olson also said he has no reason to believe the death was a suicide.

Prince was last seen alive on Wednesday, April 20, when he was dropped off at his home, Olson explained. After staff members tried and failed to reach him on the next morning, they went to his home to check on him. That's when they found the singer unresponsive in the elevator. He was alone at the time, according to Olson.

Authorities released Prince's body to his family on Friday, April 22, and the body was cremated the following day.

Prince's personal chef of almost three years, Ray Roberts, told The Associated Press that the singer was dealing with frequent bouts of sore throat and upset stomach in the months leading up to his death. He was eating less and drinking less water, according to Roberts, who said Prince looked like he was losing weight.

"It felt like he wasn't himself probably the last month or two," Roberts said. "I think he was just struggling with being sick a lot."

Investigation Turns to Prince's Use of Prescription Painkillers

Prescription opioid pills, commonly used to treat pain, were found on the singer and in his home, according to CNN, which cited a law enforcement official. Drugs eventually became the main focus of the death investigation, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

The singer suffered from chronic pain, particularly in his hips, according to Sheila E., who collaborated with Prince and was once engaged to him.

"I mean, you think about all the years he was jumping off those risers," she told Entertainment Tonight. "They were not low — they were very, very high — and to jump off that ... First of all, the Purple Rain tour and the way that they were stacked, he had those heels on. We did a year of touring [and] for him to jump off of that — just an entire year would have messed up his knees."

"He was in pain all the time, but he was a performer," she added.

A week before his death, on Friday, April 15, Prince was hospitalized in Moline, Illinois, where his plane — en route from Atlanta — made an emergency landing at 1 a.m. to treat the singer, according to TMZ, which first reported the news of his death. Prince had reportedly been suffering from a "bad bout of flu" for weeks, and had cancelled two shows on April 7 due to illness. A source told People magazine that Prince suffered from a "serious illness" that weakened his immune system. Despite still feeling sick, Prince rallied in order to perform his final show in Atlanta on Thursday, April 14.

According to TMZ, he felt "considerably worse" after the Atlanta show, prompting the emergency landing in Illinois. He was taken to a local hospital but released three hours later. TMZ later reported that the singer actually suffered a drug overdose. After his plane landed in Illinois, Prince's bodyguard carried the singer, who was unconscious, off the plane so local paramedics could work to revive him before taking him to the hospital, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, which cited fire and ambulance records released Wednesday, April 27, by the city of Moline. The records are heavily redacted, the Star Tribune said, but authorities have told multiple media outlets that either doctors or paramedics administered naloxone, aka a "save shot," which is given to someone who's overdosed on opioids, such as heroin or prescription pills.

Prince appeared at a dance party near his home in Minnesota the night after his brief hospitalization, according to TMZ. Although he didn't perform, Prince told the audience, "Wait a few days before you waste any prayers."

We'll update this post as more information becomes available.

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