An opioid overdose caused the unexpected death of Prince two months ago at his sprawling Paisley Park compound in Minnesota, reported The Associated Press after results of his autopsy were released on Thursday.
The results were made public weeks after a four-hour autopsy by local Chief Medical Examiner Dr. A. Quinn Strobl.
A preponderance of evidence already had suggested Prince’s sudden death at age 57 was linked to prescription painkiller abuse.
Prince's death came less than a week after his plane made an emergency stop in Moline, Illinois, for medical treatment as he was returning from an Atlanta concert. A source said Prince was found unconscious on the plane and that first responders gave him a shot of Narcan, an antidote used in suspected opioid overdoses.
At least two doctors' names have come up in the death investigation being conducted by the Carver County Sheriff's Office, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minnesota and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Dr. Michael Todd Schulenberg, a family practitioner, treated Prince twice in the weeks before his death and told investigators he prescribed medications for the singer. The medications were not specified in a search warrant for the Minnesota hospital that employed Schulenberg at the time.
Schulenberg saw Prince April 7 and April 20 – the day before his death – according to the warrant. Schulenberg's attorney has declined to comment on the case.
Dr. Howard Kornfeld, a California addiction specialist, was asked by Prince's representatives on April 20 to help the singer.
Kornfeld sent his son Andrew on a redeye flight that night, and Andrew was among the people who found Prince's unresponsive body the next morning, according to Kornfeld's attorney, William Mauzy.
The younger Kornfeld, who is not a doctor, was carrying buprenorphine, a medication that can be used to treat opioid addiction by easing cravings and withdrawal symptoms, Mauzy said, explaining that Andrew Kornfeld intended to give the medication to a Minnesota doctor who had cleared his schedule to see Prince on April 21. Mauzy has refused to identify that doctor. Schulenberg is not authorized to prescribe buprenorphine.
Prince's death came two weeks after he canceled concerts in Atlanta, saying he wasn't feeling well. He played a pair of makeup shows April 14 in that city, and then came the emergency landing in Moline. Prince was scheduled to perform two shows in St. Louis but canceled them shortly before his death.
The superstar had a reputation for clean living, and some friends said they never saw any sign of drug use. But longtime friend and collaborator Sheila E. has told the AP that Prince had physical issues from performing, citing hip and knee problems that she said came from years of jumping off risers and stage speakers in heels.
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